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Full text of "80 Microcomputing Magazine Review Guide"

Vizirs* Edition 



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I 







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reviews of TRS-80 * 
software, hardware. 



The most complete guide to 
T^S-SO products available. 



I 1* 



TRS-80 is a trademark of Radio Shack, a division of Tandy Corp. 




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Coordinating Editor— Janet Fiderio 

Bool< Design— Laura Landy 

Cover Design— Jonathan Graves and Howard Happ 

Illustrations— Philiip Geraci 



80 Micro Books, a subsidiary o! Wayne Green Inc. 
Peterborough, New Hampshire 03458 



Published by 80 Micro 
Peterborough. NH 03458 

Copyright © 1983 by Wayne Green Inc. 

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this 
publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmit- 
ted in any means— electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or other- 
wise—without prior written permission of the publisher. 



CONTENTS 



Preface , vii 

Introduction ix 

AckiiCJwledgements ,,....,.,,, xi 

Software , xiii 

Business/Professional Applications 1 

Compilers . . 16 

Data Base Managers . . , , . . , ,26 

Disk and Cassette Operating Systems 52 

Editor/Assemblers . , . , 61 

Education , , , ... .7 A 

Games , , 82 

Graphics , . . , 141 

Home Applications 146 

Languages . 149 

Monitors 179 

MusicA^oice Synthesis 191 

Terminal Packages/Communication Software , , 195 

Utilities. , 205 

Word Processors , 238 

Miscellaneous , 266 

Hardware , , , , , 273 

Disk Drives , 275 

Disk Drive Controllers . 279 

Expansion Modifications 288 

Modems , 301 

Music and Voice Synthesizers, , . . 305 

Printers/Plotters , 313 

Printer Spoolers/Buffers/Interfaces . 345 

Speed-Up Kits, , , 349 

Systems . , . , . , 354 

Upper- Lowercase Modifications, . , 362 

Miscellaneous 364 

Books 379 

Indexes 437 

Software Products Index ,,,.,.....,...,., , 439 

Hardware Product Index . , . . , , 447 



Book Index ,...,,., , 451 

Color Computer Software Index , 453 

Model n Software Index , 455 

Software Manufacturers' Address Index 457 

Hardware Manufacturers' Address Index 463 




AC 



The microcomputerist has an Insatiable need for information. 
Knowledge is his most important tool, for knowledge is what ul- 
timately defines his computer's abilities and potentials. The more he 
knows, the greater his skills, and the more useful his machine. 

It is not surprising, then, that product reviews are among a 
microcomputer magazine's most well-read features. 80 Micro's 
surveys show, for instance, that reviews are second only to the new 
products section in popularity. Nearly everyone wants to expand his 
software library or is looking for a new peripheral to add to his 
system. Next to hands-on experience £ind the word of friends, the 
review is the computerist's best source of solid information. 

But reviews are ineffective— indeed, potentially damaging— if they 
are not objective. Unfortunately, many magazines and reviewers 
have been so caught up in their enthusiasm for computing that they 
have overlooked the industry's blemishes. We believe that 80 Micro 
has avoided this trap. As the largest independent source of informa- 
tion on the TRS-80, we have been acutely aware of our responsibility 
to print critical product evaluations. If a product has problems, we'll 
say it. This policy has resulted in a certain amount of criticism from 
manufacturers (and even some readers). But we feel that it is the cor- 
rect one if we are to help the consumer make proper buying 
decisions. 

This does not mean that our reviews are the final word on TRS-80 
products. In fact, the consumer who decides to buy or not buy a 
product strictly on the basis of a review is asking for trouble. A soft- 
ware package might, for instance, meet the needs of the reviewer, 
but lack some important features that the reader's application re- 
quires. Or a reviewer might criticize a product for failing to have 
capabilities that the reader doesn't need. 

Remember that each review, no matter how objective and fair, is 
only one person's opinion. The discriminating buyer will read other 
reviews, seek the judgement of users, and, most important, test the 
product out, either at a computer store or on a friend's machine. 

Nevertheless, if you are an active TRS-80 computerist, we feel that 
80 Micro's Review Guide can be an important tool. Nowhere else will 
you find a book with as much comprehensive information on 
TRS-80 products. If you want to find out the features of a software 
package, or compare the prices of two similar products, or learn 
what problems you might run into with a piece of hardware you've 
been looking at, this will be the first place you'll turn to. 

One last word. Write and let us know what you like and dislike. 
With your input, we'll make future editions even more useful. 

Eric Maloney 

Managing Editor 

80 Micro 



VII 



NTRODUCTION 



You're the owner of a TRS-80 microcomputer. What information 
will you get in this book that you can't get somewhere else? 

Most important, you'll find almost every review 80 Micro pub- 
lished in its first three years (1980-1982). You can even read our 
original review of the Model I. We've condensed these reviews to 
make them more accessible, yet have tried to retain the review's 
essential information and the reviewer's opinions about the product. 
Reviews are cross-referenced and are in alphabetical order by 
category. 

Each review also includes the following: 

©A rating of one to five stars. 

©Updated information on the manufacturer's name and address. 
If the manufacturer's name has changed, the original will appear at 
the top of the review and the new one at the bottom. 

• Updated information on the product's name. Again, if the prod- 
uct has a new name, the original is at the beginning and the new 
name at the end. 

• Model compatibility. All software and most hardware reviews list 
the models the product worked with at the time the review was writ- 
ten. If the product is now available for other TRS-80s, the models are 
listed at the close of the review. 

• Product availability. If a product is no longer available, or if it is 
available from a source other than the original, it will say so at the 
end of the review. 

#A list of manufacturers' addresses. 

® Current price information. 

®The date the original review was published, and the author of 
the review. 

We contacted every company listed for updated information. If we 
could not reach the company, we say so at the end of the review. 

And to help you along, we've also included complete indexes for 
software (with separate indexes for the Color Computer and the 
Model 11/12/16), hardware, and books, and a list of manufacturers' 
addresses. 

Most of the reviews in this book are for the Models I and III. If you 
own a Model 4, you should be able to run the majority of Model III 
(and converted Model I) programs. We recommend, however, that 
you first contact the manufacturer. We suggest the same to Model 
12 or 16 owners who are interested in Model II packages. 

You might wonder why we've included reviews of products that 
are no longer being marketed. We had several reasons. First, many 
out-of-print programs are still available from other sources, including 
user groups and bulletin boards. Second, we felt that these reviews 

ix 



would help give computerists— particularly new ones— an overview 
of the market. Thus, we think you'll find this book not only inform- 
ative, but an interesting glimpse at the history and evolution of the 
TRS-80. 

So there you have it. Whatever your microcomputing interests, we 
think you'll enjoy browsing through our collection. 

Janet Fiderio 
Coordinating Editor 



X 



/1CKNCWLEDGEMENTS 



Many people have contributed their talents to this guide and 
deserve thanks. Foremost among them are the authors of the 
reviews compiled here. 

My personal thanks to the 80 Micro editors who painstakingly con- 
densed each review and were helpful in innumerable ways: Eric 
Grevstad, Eric Maloney, Peter McKie, John Mello, Michael Nadeau, 
Lynne Patnode, Lynn Rognsvoog, Mary Ellen Ruth, Deborah 
Sargent, and Stephen Tomajczyk. Special thanks go to Terry 
Kepner, our technical editor. 

I would also like to thank Michele DesRochers, who typeset the 
guide; Peter Bjornsen, Louis Marini, and the proofreading staff; 
Nancy Salmon, David Wozmak, Karen Wozmak, and the production 
department. 

Thank you to Laura Laridy for her time and effort, and to Phil 
Geraci for his fine illustrations. To all the others who contributed, 
my thanks and appreciation. 

T F 

May 1983 



XI 









V^*. ^> "X 







XIII 



BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS 



BUSINESS/ 
■PROFESSIONAL- 
APPLICATIONS 



Ann Rose— Our Accounts- 
Receivable Clerk 
Sturdivant & Dunn 
Model I or III 

Ann Rose— Our Accounts- 
Receivable Clerk was designed 
specifically for applications 
where the majority of the bill- 
ings are repetitive standard 
amounts. 

The Model I version requires 
two disk drives; one for the pro- 
gram and data, and one for data 
exclusively. You can modify the 
Model III version to run with 
one disk. 

Ann Rose is a bill-and-post 
system. You add a new account 
by coding it according to a table 
that you have set up. When you 
select the automatic billing 
feature, these codes identify the 
standard rate to charge. 

You can establish multiple 
standard rates and apply them 
to different customers as needed. 
You can also bill directly in addi- 
tion to the standard amount. A 



code of 1 is used for accounts 
that only incur direct charges. 

The system uses a clever 
technique for posting specific 
items to an account. It assumes 
that all positive numbers are 
charges and that all negative 
numbers are payments. The cor- 
rection routine changes negative 
amounts from payments into 
returned items or discounts, and 
positive amounts from charges 
into service charges. You must 
also use the routine to correct ac- 
count number, invoice number, 
or dollar-amount problems. 

In reality, Ann Rose is a 
17-line computerized ledger 
card. Unfortunately, since the 
system can't key payments 
against specific charges, prob- 
lems could develop if you had to 
reconcile a high- volume account. 
Because the program prints only 
17 transactions and the net 
balance due, the amount paid 
could be for details previously 
purged. 

The monthly report of 
customer balances requires 
some explanation since at first 
glance it appears to be out of 
balance. The detail columns pro- 
vided—service charge, 30-60 
days, and over 60 days— do not 
necessarily total to the balance- 
due column. The difference is 
the current amount due, found 




SOFTWARE 



on the posting-to-accounts- 
receivable report. 

Since the system is set up to 
print at 10 pitch on 8 V2 by 
1 1-inch paper, space is at a 
premium and some information 
was omitted. When Peter C. 
Dunn, a CPA with the firm of 
Sturdivant and Dunn, developed 
the program, he should have in- 
cluded the total balance due as a 
single number or used a short 
name for the customer so that 
the report would crossfoot. 

The program provides an 
accounts-receivable list with the 
account number, code, name, 
phone number, and blank 
spaces in the columns labeled 
charge and payment. At first it 
appears that it should contain a 
recap of the financial figures, but 
it is intended as a worksheet for 
the bookkeeper. 

The system's major weakness 
is its documentation. The 
manual starts out by providing a 
step-by-step list of instructions 
for formatting new disks and 
backing up and copying the pro- 
gram from the nonsystem disk 
provided. The documentation 
explicitly reminds the user to 
make adequate back-up copies 
every time he runs the system. 
(After terminating processing, 
the system even displays a 
parting message of "MAKE 
BACK-UPS.") 

Unfortunately, there is very lit- 
tle follow-up documentation on 
how to run the system. Essen- 
tially, the manual says to ex- 
periment—an excellent way to 
learn, but reading about it first 
would have been better. A new 
and expanded version of the 
documentation should be 
available soon. 

The system has other deficien- 
cies. For example, bills are 



printed without account 
numbers and there is no provi- 
sion for sales or commission 
analyses. 

I would recommend this 
system only under certain cir- 
cumstances. At present Ann 
Rose could be ideal for a small 
business with repetitive stan- 
dard billings. However, the lack 
of comprehensive documenta- 
tion limits its usefulness to 
someone already familiar with 
data processing. 
(Sturdivant and Dunn Inc., Box 
277, 124 Washington St., Con- 
way, NH 03818: $150, 48K re- 
quired.) 

Frederic S. Goldstein 
May 1982 



Check Register Plus 

Softco 

Model I and III 

^ -^ ^ -^ 
Checkwriter-SO 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model III 

-^ ^ ^ -^ 

Maxi Check Register 

Accounting System 

Exador Inc./ Adventure 

International 

Model I, II, and III 

Small businesses considering 
TRS-80 bookkeeping software 
have many programs from 
which to choose. Rather than 
buy a full-fledged business 
system including payroll, 
general ledger, accounts payable 
and accounts receivable, many 
of these businesses might be bet" 
ter served by some type of check 
register program, which is 
basically an elementary general 
ledger. 



BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS 



These three programs can be 
used by individuals as well as 
businesses. However, all are 
more complicated than simple 
in-memory household check- 
book programs. T?iese programs 
do much more than balance the 
checkbook; they are sophisticat- 
ed recordkeeping systems. If you 
normally itemize deductions, or 
have special financial problems 
such as rental income/expenses, 
these programs may be well 
worth the time and expense. 
Otherwise, they may be more 
program than you need or want. 

Two of the programs. Max! 
Check Register Accounting 
System (Maxi CRAS) and Check- 
writer-80, print the checks, if 
desired, to avoid the double 
work of typing an entry into the 
computer and typing it again on 
a check. Both programs also 
balance the checkbook, cancel 
checks, and reconcile the bank 
statement. Maxi CRAS has the 
additional feature of interacting 
with VisiCalc. 

Check Register Plus (CRP) is 
quite different from the other 
two since it does not balance the 
checkbook, write checks, or 
reconcile the bank statement. It 
does maintain payroll records 
and totals for tax and FICA pur- 
poses, and can even print W2 
forms, with the purchase of an 
extra module. 

Maxi CRAS requires a Model I 
or III with 48K and two drives, 
or Model II with 64K and one 
drive. Printers which require 
special drivers may be used. Its 
capacity is 223 accounts, divided 
as needed between expense ac- 
counts and income accounts. 
Several disks may be used, if 
necessary, to store all the trans- 
actions for a year. 

Checkwriter-80 is for the 



Model III only. It requires 48K 
and two drives. Printers that re- 
quire special drivers are not sup- 
ported and a parallel printer 
must be on-line before the pro- 
gram will run. The program is 
written in Cobol, and allows 33 
expense accounts, 33 income ac- 
counts, 75 payee names/ad- 
dresses, and nine bank ac- 
counts. 

Check Register Plus needs a 
Model I or III, 48K and two 
drives. Special printer drivers 
are not supported. 

Its capacity is 400 accounts, 
divided as needed between in- 
come and expense. A Model 11 
version is also available. The 
Model II version needs 64K, one 
drive, and includes check recon- 
ciliation. 

Clieckwriter-80 

Checkwriter-80 is a well writ- 
ten, easy-to-use program. 
Screens in various parts of the 
program all use the same control 
keys, and errors are simple to 
correct. A minor annoyance is 
that control-key entries must 
be in uppercase. The manual is 
well organized and easy to 
understand. 

Checks are numbered internal- 
ly by the program, and the ac- 
tual check number is not used 
until the checks are printed. At 
that time, the starting number 
on the forms may be used. If the 
check is written manually, there 
is no way to enter the actual 
check number into the program. 
A check which is cancelled ac- 
cidentally may be restored. 

One deposit is allowed per ac- 
count per day. When you receive 
bank statements, the program 
reconciles the balance. This is 
the only point at which it is easy 
to obtain a checking account 



SOFTWARE 



balance. Normally, to find the 
balance you must note the 
beginning balance, obtain a 
printout of the check register, 
and manually add the total 
deposits and subtract the total 
checks. This is a lot of work for 
such an important piece of in- 
formation. 

After the monthly statement is 
reconciled, the cancelled checks 
and deposits are cleared off the 
disks. Only the totals are re- 
tained in the income and ex- 
pense accounts, not the actual 
transactions. At the end of the 
year, a final clearing gives totals 
for the whole year in each 
account. 

Maxi CRAS 

Like Checkwriter-80, Maxi 
CRAS is initialized by deciding 
on expense and income account 
titles. It is wise to include a few 
empty accounts in case you 
need more later. After you enter 
accounts, obtain a printout for 
reference when entering trans- 
actions. 

A unique feature is this pro- 
gram's ability to allocate a 
check, in one transaction, to 
more than one expense category. 
You may also allocate to ac- 
counts by percent or by frac- 
tions, rather than actual dollar 
amount. Furthermore, individ- 
ual expense entries are saved by 
the system for the entire year, so 
that the final summary lists 
every item in each expense 
category. This is not true of the 
other two programs. 

Check entry involves typing 
the payee, amount and purpose 
of the check. You type a check 
number if you write the check 
manually. For printed checks, 
you enter the starting number at 
printout time. The expense ac- 



counts are chosen by account 
number, but their names do not 
print on the screen, so it is easy 
to make an error and not notice 
it. To correct an error, the entire 
transaction is erased and you 
must begin again. 

During check entry, the bal- 
ance is available at any time— 
an important convenience. 
Check entry is made as rapid as 
possible by liberal use of default 
values when you press enter. 

If you find an error after a 
check has been written to disk, it 
is not possible to alter or delete 
the check. A memo transaction 
is created to fix the error. If you 
do not find the error until after 
the check is printed, the check 
may not be reprinted. The ad- 
vantage of this system is that all 
entries are permanent and can- 
not be maliciously or in- 
advertently altered. For personal 
use, however, the system is not 
as simple as Checkwriter-80's 
check edit function. 

The program maintains a 
payee and address file. You may 
use either file, both or none, 
depending on your needs. 

Check Register Plus 

CRP is actually a general 
ledger program whose function 
is solely to chart the flow of 
money, not to balance the 
checkbook. As such, it does not 
have any of the checkbook 
features of the other two, and it 
does not print checks. 

Surprisingly, this is the only 
program of the three which has 
password security. The security 
is on three levels, and passwords 
may be easily changed by the 
person having the top-level 
password. 

This is also the only program 
that does not allow backup of 



BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS 



the program disk. CRP is 
shipped with a backup disk pro- 
vided by Softco. If the original 
disk is harmed, the backup may- 
be used while you wait for the 
free replacement. The programs 
also may not be listed. I would 
feel more comfortable with this 
system if the program disk could 
be write-protected. However, 
during operation the program 
disk is used as a backup for data 
before posting. Since the pro- 
gram disk is used regularly for 
write as well as read, and must 
remain in the drive whenever 
the program is in use, eventual 
damage to the disk seems likely. 
As long as Softco will replace it 
at no charge, however, it is dif- 
ficult to object to their policy. 

The CRP manual is well writ- 
ten and nicely presented, with 
important points well marked. 
However, at the end the reader 
may still have some unanswered 
questions, such as, "How do you 
handle income?" It is never 
mentioned in the manual. 

CRP lets you choose your own 
account categories, or use the 
samples provided. The program 
automatically sorts alphabetical- 
ly on the account number, so it 
is helpful to group similar ex- 
penses and give them sequential 
account numbers. 

Because the program does not 
maintain a checkbook balance, 
cash entries can be handled as 
easily as checks. 

The program has a particular- 
ly effective method of handling 
dollar entries. As you type each 
digit, it is printed on the right 
side and pushed left by the next 
digit. The decimal point is 
already on the screen and does 
not need to be typed. Errors may 
not be corrected at the time of 
check entry (except for payroll 



checks) but may be corrected 
later. 

CRP maintains payroll totals. 
Each payroll check must still be 
calculated by hand, but you may 
then enter the check and its 
deductions in the program, 
where totals accumulate for 
quarterly reports. 

At regular intervals the checks 
must be posted to the accounts. 
A backup of the check data is 
automatically made on the pro- 
gram disk before posting occurs. 
As in Checkwriter-80, posting 
accumulates totals in each ex- 
pense account. The individual 
entries are not retained. 

Reports 

All three programs print a list 
of the accounts for reference, in 
order by account number. 

Checkwriter-80 provides: a list 
of payee names and addresses, 
sorted by number and by name; 
a check-register statement; a list 
of each check and deposit; a 
checkbook reconciliation state- 
ment; and a year-end expense 
category list. 

Maxi CRAS provides: a check- 
register statement; accounts file; 
payee file; address file; account 
distribution statement; monthly 
account subtotals; individual ac- 
count statements; and a bank 
reconciliation statement. 

Check Register Plus provides: 
account reports with user- 
selectable headings and con- 
tents; a check-register state- 
ment; and a quarterly payroll 
report. 

A very welcome feature of 
CRP's report section is the abili- 
ty to abort a printout. In the 
other programs, use reset or 
break at your own risk. 



SOFTWARE 



Concliisioii 

Assuming all three programs 
are compatible with your equip'- 
ment, which you purchase will 
be dictated by your needs. If you 
need a program to maintain a 
checkbook, choose between 
Checkwriter-80 and Maxi CRAS. 
Of these two, bear in mind that 
Maxi CRAS allows many more 
income/expense accounts, 
whereas Checkwriter-80 allows 
multiple bank accounts. It is 
possible to use Maxi CRAS for 
more than one bank account. 




however, by maintaining separ- 
ate sets of disks for each 
account. 

If you want quarterly payroll 
data maintained, the logical 
choice is CRP. It also allows the 
greatest total number of accounts 
and has password security. 
(Checkwriter-80, Tandy/Radio 
Shack, Fort Worth, TX 76102; 
Model IH48K, $100. Maxi 
CRAS, Exador Inc./Adventure 
International, P.O. Box 3435, 
Longwood, FL 32750; Model I 
and III 48K, Model II 64K, 



$99.95. Check Register Plus, 
Softco, 1 51 6 South Orchard, 
Boise, ID 83705; Model I and III 
48K, $100.) 

Wynne Keller 
June/July 1982 

• •* 

Dynamic Report Generator 
Dynamic Software 
Model I or III 

The Dynamic Report 
Generator (DRG) is an inexpen- 
sive program that generates col- 
umnar reports of data within 
specified parameters. The 
package includes a program disk 
and a manual. The disk includes 
two programs— RUN/CMD, a 
run-time module for the com- 
piled program, and DRG/CHN. 

The program is easy to use, 
and the manual is composed 
primarily of a long example that 
uses all the program's 
commands. 

The Dynamic Report Gener- 
ator is menu-driven and allows 
little flexibility in the form of the 
data output. This makes manual 
writing easier. The flexibility is 
limited to varying the number of 
columns of data, their titles, 
data type (string, numeric, or re- 
sult), and the relationships 
among them. 

The program is not perfect, 
but quite good considering the 
cost. A few things that might be 
added include better error- 
trapping, a sort command in- 
dependent of the Terminate op- 
tion, and a way to browse 
through the data without send- 
ing it to the printer. The pro- 
gram bombs on several types of 
input errors, requiring you to 
reload it, and it doesn't support 
any printer options other than 



BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS 



number of lines per page, a title, 
and page numbers. 

Overall, the Dynamic Report 
Generator is quite a good deal 
for the money. There is nothing I 
know that can compare for its 
low cost. If you need simple 
reports of the type that DRG can 
generate, you certainly would be 
hard put to find a better way to 
spend your $14.95. 
{Dynamic Software, 58-04 208 
St, Bayside, NY 1 1364; $14.95,) 
Bruce Powel Douglass 
October 1982 



-^ ^ ^ ^ 

Electric Spreadsheet 

Ban Go Haney and Associates 

InCo 

Model I and III 

Electric Spreadsheet turns 
your TRS-80 into a large 
worksheet on which you can 
perform complex calculations in 
integer, single-precision, or 
double-precision number 
representations. I reviewed the 
Exatron Stringy Floppy version. 
If you want to use the Electric 
Spreadsheet with a 32 or 48K 
machine, a $9.95 program 
named ©Freeze must first be 
purchased from Exatron. 

The program is easy to use. 
You can select the calculation to 
be done, enter the number of 
columns and number of lines the 
worksheet will contain, either a 
one- or multiple-page format, 
and the number of decimal 
places for each column. 

You can easily move around 
the worksheet by using the ar- 
row keys. You can change pages 
by pressing the @ key. Output 
can be prepared at any time by 
pressing the question-mark key. 
and you can go to the menu by 



pressing the slash key. 

Once in the menu mode you 
can do the following: output to 
screen, output to printer— after 
screen output, input to screen, 
input to printer— after screen in* 
put, change the format, save 
data, find out how much string 
space is left, or you can just quit. 

Electric Spreadsheet is quite 
useful and worth the price. I 
would rate everything about this 
package excellent. It is worth the 
asking price for the superb 
documentation alone. 
(Dan G. Haney and Associates 
Inc., San Mateo, CA 94401. This 
company could not be reached 
for an update.) 

Mark D. Goodwin 
January 1982 



Finance— Loans and 
Investments 
Computerware 
Color Computer 

If you'd like your computer to 
figure interest on your loans or 
calculate how much you need to 
save to reach a goal, consider 
this program. Only three func- 
tions require a printer, so this 
utility is excellent for the be- 
ginner. 

Finance has two separate pro- 
grams: Loans and Investments. 
Loans has nine separate func- 
tions dealing with often used 
loan calculations. Most functions 
calculate the missing variable. 
This works for any missing 
variable by supplying the re- 
maining variables. 

You can also calculate com- 
mercial paper discount, if you 
can find a bank these days with 
a discount. You need a printer 
for receiving a mortgage amor- 



SOFTWARE 



tization table indicating pay- 
ment, interest and principal. You 
also have the option of a printed 
declining-interest loan table. 
This program includes most of 
the common calculations involv- 
ing loans. You can even show 
how much of a loan is interest as 
opposed to principal in the first 
years of home buying. 

Investments, the second pro- 
gram in this package, contains 
nine separate calculations used 
in investments. You can cal- 
culate the future value of an 
investment by giving initial in- 
vestments, interest rate, com- 
pounding periods, and number 
of years. This is handy for 
calculating the value of your IRA 
in 2098, or determining how 
much you can withdraw from an 
annuity without damaging the 
principal. 

Another function calculates 
the effective interest rate given 
the current and future value and 
period. The only function that 
requires a printer is an earned- 
interest table. 

The program comes on a 
quality cassette with a program 
on each side or a disk. It loads 
with no problem and the pro- 
grams are easily written and 
easy to understand. There's an 
excellent introduction discussing 
copyrighted material in an in- 
telligent fashion as opposed 
to stern warnings about dup- 
lication. 

If you have a need for 
calculating loans and in- 
vestments, I recommend these 
programs. 

(Computerware, Box 668, En- 
cinitas, CA 92024; $1 7.95 
cassette, $22.95 disk, 16K Ex- 
tended Color Basic required.) 

Mark E. Renne 
November 1982 



8 



-^ -^ * ^ 

General Accounting Package 

Microed 

Model II 

I received a product announce- 
ment from a company in Califor- 
nia called Microed, offering both 
the CP/M system and an ac- 
counting package for the Model 
II. It appeared to be what I need- 
ed. The software package con- 
tained manuals and two disks. 
The first disk contained all the 
CP/M programs and 1 1 general- 
ledger programs. The 1 1 ledger 
programs alone occupied 218K 
bytes of space, in executable 
code, not Basic. 

The first Microed manual was 
a summary of CP/M programs 
and a description of Microed's 
written programs for CP/M. The 
accounting manual is written in 
a self-teaching style. It is intend- 
ed to be used as a step-by-step 
guide in setting up the account- 
ing system on the computer. 

The data disk contains all the 
accounting-program results. 
This disk also receives all the 
newly created files. It is sim- 
ilar to the data-base concept 
where the data disk becomes the 
data base. 

When I first found out that the 
program was written in Fortran 
and I would not have access to 
the source code, I was somewhat 
disappointed— I would have no 
way to modify it for my own 
situation. I see now that the 
capability of this accounting 
package far exceeds my needs, 
and it may be quite some time 
before I need to modify it, if ever. 

Transactions are entered using 
the Add General Journal Trans- 
actions program. Another pro- 
gram posts transactions and 
gives you a report containing 



BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS 



those transactions. Two addi- 
tional programs give you a 
general-ledger detail report and a 
general-ledger summary. Several 
others provide for various ac- 
counting information such as 
annual summaries, accounts 
receivable, and accounts pay- 
able. My package also came with 
what Microed called security 
programs. These programs allow 
me to use a password for entry 
into the system, and hence the 
accounting information. 

After using this package for 
several weeks, 1 have become 
more and more convinced that it 
is one of the best bargains 
available in off-the-shelf soft- 
ware. It is successful, in my 
eyes, because it is a complete 
package: system software and 
application software combined to 
run together. 

(Microed, 3910Bandini St., San 
Diego, CA 92103, could not be 
reached for an update.) 

Hellen Huffman 
June 1981 



In Memory Information 3.0 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I and III 

The In Memory Information 
System stores information on 
pages of memory called cards. 
Each card may contain up to 14 
fields of one line (41 characters 
each) that you define. The card 
has a maximum length of 255 
bytes, which can limit the 
amount of data per field. 

The package consists of three 
programs: Initialization, Sort, 
and Update and Retrieval. The 
Initialization program sets up 
the number and the length of 
fields and creates the initial data 



file. The Sort program sorts the 
file in ascending or descending 
order, prints the data file on an 
optional 80-column printer, and 
optionally splits a long data file 
into two or more sections to 
avoid over-running available 
memory. The Update and 
Retrieval program adds, deletes, 
and updates data cards. Up- 
dating can be quite tedious. 

Each program allows for the 
repetition of key entries by 
holding down the proper key un- 
til the desired number of charac- 
ters has been printed. This has 
been a mixed blessing, although 
it allows the rapid entry of multi- 
ple characters, if you are a 
heavy-handed typer like myself, 
it acts like a badly bouncing 
keyboai'd. 

The program's only real 
operating bug is that if the 
amount of available memory 
drops below twice the length of a 
data card, all of the data in 
memory will be lost. 

This program is exactly what 
Radio Shack advertises, a com- 
puterized card filing system. It 
has potential for those who wish 
to keep brief records of customer 
payment or status in very small 
businesses. For most small 
businesses though. Radio 
Shack's Versatile would be bet- 
ter suited. 

(In Memory Information 3.0, 
Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, rx 76102; cassette 
$19.95.) 

Fritz Milhaupt 
November 1981 

■^ -^ ^ ^ 

Litigation Support System 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model II 

With Radio Shack's Model II 



SOFTWARE 



Litigation Support System, sav* 
vy lawyers no longer need to 
waste time searching old files. 
After an hour of learning the 
system, anyone (even a lawyer) 
can create, store, and retrieve 
files. 

The Litigation Support System 
is composed of two files: a 
Clients file and a Forms file. The 
Clients file can hold up to 375 
files. You can use the client 
record to store information such 
as the client's personal 
background, case history and 
prior correspondence. The 
Forms file is used to conduct 
legal research. The user enters 
the area of law, case number, 
keyword, or any other criteria 
desired, and the computer 
searches up to 570 records and 
displays any matching records. 

The Clients and Forms files 
can also generate reports. The 
Client Representative report 
prints the current date, client's 
name, client number, type of 
case, attorney of record and 
other relevant information for 
each client selected. The Client 
Personal Data report prints the 
name, record or case number, 
address and phone number of 
each client selected. The Forms 
file report generates a list of 
cases, subjects, forms or 
keywords based on any criteria 
you select. 

Perhaps the most impressive 
feature of this program is its 
documentation. The instructions 
are clear, concise, and easy 
to read. 

The manual also provides 
meticulous instructions for print- 
ing client reports, using various 
formats: alphabetical order, 
chronological order, by 
attorney's name, or by Just 
about any other criteria you 

10 



desire. You can also adjust the 
page length and paper width to 
accommodate your printer. 

The Litigation Support System 
is designed both for expansion 
and for use with other Radio 
Shack programs. The manual 
explains how to merge Scripsit 
with it to create form letters, 
leases, and powers of attorney. 
This feature alone can save a law 
office much time and effort. Ad- 
ditionally, the system has the 
capacity to print mailing labels. 

The Litigation Support System 
can be used with Radio Shack's 
Time Accounting System, If you 
have this system, you can give 
clients the same client numbers 
in both systems. This way, users 
of both systems can maintain 
the continuity, accuracy, and ac- 
cessibility of the client record 
system. 

This program works so well 
that you wish you had more 
storage capacity so you could 
store complete opinions, ex- 
cerpts from legal treatises, or 
even legal briefs. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $299.) 

Edward D. Young III 
June/July 1982 

Maxi Check Register 
(See Page 2) 



"A" w "A" "A" 
Microstat 
Ecosoft 
Model II 

Statistical Analysis 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model II 

These two packages contain 
common statistical procedures, 



BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS 



Statistical Analysis runs under 
TRSDOS 2.0A, while Microstat 
runs under Pickles and Trout 
CP/M and MBasic. Both manuals 
are more than satisfactory, 
although the Shack manual is 
slicker and more tutorial. Both 
contain sample printouts and 
are easy to follow. The Microstat 
package, however, contains sam- 
ple data that can be run to con- 
firm the accuracy not only of the 
programs, but of how you are 
responding to the prompts. 

Data files in both packages are 
random access. Each contains a 
data-handling utility to create 
new files and edit old files. 
Microstat also lets you specify 
the precision of the files, a 
desirable feature. I like Radio 
Shack's data entry better, 
however, because you can 
review an observation and 
reenter it if there is an error. 
With Microstat's package, you 
must enter the entire data file 
and then edit it by observation 
number; this is not as conve- 
nient as reentering observations 
before they are recorded. 
Microstat also claims to save 
every observation as it is input, 
although my disk drive did not 
run after entering every observa- 
tion. Radio Shack did not pro- 
vide a way to recover data if you 
accidentally depress Break. 

Statistical Analysis enters data 
a little more conveniently. 
However, this is more than offset 
by Microstat's ability to 
transform data. 

A serious deficiency in Radio 
Shack's data handling utility is 
the lack of a satisfactory method 
for subsetting observations in 
the data set. Radio Shack allows 
specifying up to 10 values of a 
particular variable that the pro- 
gram uses to select observations 



for analysis. While this is better 
than nothing, it makes it difficult 
if you are dealing with a large 
data set and impossible if you 
wish to subset on more than one 
variable. 

Microstat solves this problem 
by providing file moving and 
merging utilities as well as a 
sorting utility. You can sort on 
multiple keys and then subset 
by either copying part of a file to 
another file or specifying that on- 
ly certain observations in the 
sorted file be used. 

Both packages contain pro- 
grams for descriptive statistics 
(mean, standard deviation, 
range, and so on) and 
histograms. The Radio Shack 
package has separate programs, 
while Microstat combines them. 
Statistical Analysis offers an op- 
tion to let the computer deter- 
mine the intervals based on the 
data, while Microstat requires 
that you enter the lower limits of 
each class. 

In addition to descriptive 
statistics and histograms, each 
package offers analysis of 
variance, correlation analysis, 
regression analysis, and time- 
series analysis. In general, the 
programs do what they are sup- 
posed to. Radio Shack's ANOVA 
offers one-way, randomized 
block and two-way, factorial 
design, while Microstat offers 
simple one-way as well as the 
other two. Microstat's correlation 
program is more sophisticated in 
that it provides the sum-of- 
squares-and-crossproducts 
matrix as well as the variance- 
covariance matrix and the cor- 
relation matrix. Again, Microstat 
has added an extra touch that 
could be valuable to those doing 
more sophisticated research 
projects. 



11 



SOFTWARE 



The difference in sophistica- 
tion between the two programs 
shows up especially well when 
comparing the regression pack- 
ages. The Shack offers multiple 
regression in one subprogram 
and simple regression within the 
correlation program, a satisfac- 
tory arrangement. The regres- 
sion is full model with complete 
analysis of the variance table. 
Unfortunately, it does not 
display (or apparently compute) 
the t ratios that indicate whether 
a particular coefficient is 
significantly different from zero. 
You are left to do this from the 
output of the regression slopes 
and their standard deviations. 

There is no Durbin-Watson 
statistic and no residual 
analysis. Microstat, on the other 
hand, offers both stepwise and 
full-model regression and pro- 
vides an option to compute and 
plot the residuals as well as the 
Durbin-Watson statistic. In my 
estimation, these are necessities 
for serious research. 

Time-series analysis is provid- 
ed in both packages and both 
contain serious flaws. Statistical 
Analysis offers moving averages, 
analysis of seasonality based on 
the ratio of actual to moving 
averages, and a time-series 
regression program. However, 
there is no way to combine the 
time-series regression and the 
seasonal indices to obtain a true 
forecast of a seasonal series. This 
is a serious flaw and renders the 
time-series package useless. 

Microstat provides moving 
averages, centered moving 
averages, deseasonalization (or 
the computation of the seasonal 
indices), and simple exponential 
smoothing. However, they suc- 
ceed in frustrating the time- 
series forecaster again, since 

12 



there is no way to compute the 
time-series trend, much less a 
way to combine the trend and 
the seasonal indices to compute 
a forecast. Worst of all, the pro- 
gram displays the preliminary 
seasonal indices instead of final 
seasonal indices, which are nor- 
malized so that their mean value 
is one. Simple exponential 
smoothing provides a way of 
predicting data without a trend 
and works as it is supposed to. 

Unfortunately, there is no 
computation of mean square er- 
rors or any other indication of fit, 
effectively eliminating the use of 
the program in searching for the 
optimal smoothing constant. 
This again makes this part of the 
program effectively useless. 

Both programs generally do 
their jobs, but Microstat's output 
is more sophisticated. The one 
exception to this is the time- 
series package, which I regard, 
in both instances, as completely 
inadequate. 

Programs contained in the 
Statistical Analysis not included 
in Microstat are analysis of 
covariance, a test-scoring 
package and a random-sample 
generator. For those who use 
ANCOVAR, and those who do 
questionnaire research, these 
programs are quite valuable. 

Programs that Microstat offers 
not available in the Radio Shack 
package include nonparametric 
statistics, factorials, permu- 
tations, combinations, several 
probability distributions, and 
test for differing proportions 
and means. 

In the final analysis, a package 
is only as good as its reliability 
and customer service. In using 
Microstat, there were three prob- 
lems that I encountered —an il- 
legal function call, a hang-up 



BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS 



when I tried to go to the printer 
in the probability distribution 
program, and the failure to read 
a double-precision file in the 
descriptive statistics program. 
When I notified Ecosoft of the 
first two problems, they asked 
me to return my disk for an up- 
dated version. The package is 
now working fine. 

In summary, the Radio Shack 
package, although not as 
sophisticated as Microstat, per- 
formed as it was supposed to 
with no errors. Microstat, on the 
other hand, had errors that were 
satisfactorily remedied. The 
Radio Shack package is certainly 
a bargain for the price if one can 
live with its limitations. But for 
those users who require more 
sophisticated types of analysis 
and data handling capability, 
especially if one already owns 
CP/M and MBasic, the Microstat 
package is worth the extra 
money. 

(Statistical Analysis, Tan- 
dy/Radio Shack, Fort Worth, TX 
76102; Model II, $99. Microstat, 
Ecosoft, Indianapolis, IN 46206; 
Model II, $250.) 

L. H. Zincone 
June/July 1982 

■^ "^ "^ 
Spectaculator 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Color Computer 

Spectaculator is an electronic 
spreadsheet for performing 
budgetary or other tabular 
calculations on the Color Com- 
puter. It comes in the familiar 
ROM-pack format, and can be 
used with either 4, 16, or 32K 
machines. You need a cassette 
recorder if you want to reuse 
your work, and a printer is 
handy. 



The manual leads you along 
very gently and can be read 
quickly. Almost half of it con- 
sists of sample sessions and 
command summaries. The Spec- 
taculator vocabulary has 17 two- 
character commands, plus 
redefined meanings for a few in- 
dividual keystrokes. 

When you turn the power on, 
the upper left-hand section of the 
sheet is shown on the screen. 
Normally, you will see 13 rows 
and as many columns as will fit 
the video display. You can 
specify column widths; the 
default value is seven spaces. 
When you move the cursor the 
row and column ID numbers 
change. 

A few peculiarities of the pro- 
gram become evident when you 
set out to spruce up a worksheet 
with labels. Numerical entries 
are right-justified when entered, 
while text entries are left- 
justified. Judicious use of the 
space bar is sometimes 
necessary to properly align col- 
umn labels with the data they 
refer to. Text entries may exceed 
the width specification of the col- 
umn they start in without affect- 
ing subsequent numerical en- 
tries. You can create new blank 
rows and columns at any point, 
so you always have the option of 
adding labels or data to an ex- 
isting worksheet. 

What makes electronic work- 
sheets so special is being able to 
use predefined formulas, with 
numerical entries, to compute 
new entries, all of which can be 
easily updated or manipulated. 
This program uses a convenient, 
easy-to-learn syntax for setting 
up formulas and is geared to 
straightforward financial calcula- 
tions, not elaborate analysis of 
scientific data. 



13 



SOFTWARE 



A typical Spectaculator ap- 
plication involves identical 
calculations on the correspond- 
ing elements of rows in a work- 
sheet, the results of which are 
displayed in a particular column. 
Calculations can also be carried 
out vertically, with elements in 
different rows being operated 
upon to yield a results row. 

Spectaculator will add, sub- 
tract, multiply and divide as well 
as calculate square roots. Paren- 
theses may be used freely. It also 
offers a SUM and SMT function. 
The first is a short way of form- 
ing, for each row, the sum from 
a designated starting column up 
to the column to the left of the 
marker's position. The SMT 
function, followed by a column 
designation, calculates the total 
of a specified column, and 
displays the running subtotals in 
the column where the marker is 
positioned. 

Normally, calculated results 
are displayed in a dollars and 
cents format with two decimal 
places. The D causes calcula- 
tions to be carried out to six 
decimal places, but only displays 
the results up to the first trailing 
zero. The program is inconsis- 
tent on this point; there are 
situations in which the first zero 
is displayed, and others in which 
it is suppressed. 

Spectaculator will automatical- 
ly adjust the width of a results 
column, to fit as many as 10 
digits, to accommodate calculat- 
ed values, even if you have 
predefined such a column's 
width. All Spectaculator calcula- 
tions can be carried out vertical- 
ly across columns, as well as 
horizontally. The two types of 
calculations can be used togeth- 
er in all sorts of financial work. 

Spectaculator worksheets can 



accommodate nearly 14,500 
characters in a 16K computer, 
and nearly 31,000 in a 32K 
machine. You can save a 
worksheet to tape at any point, 
and reload it to resume work 
later. Data, labels, and defined 
formulas are all saved. You can 
assign a name to the tape file, 
and either use the name or ig- 
nore it when reloading. One an- 
noying point is that Spec- 
taculator doesn't give any in- 
dication of a file name during the 
loading process. 

Worksheets can be listed on a 
printer; the row and column 
numbers are automatically sup- 
pressed when this is done, mak- 
ing for a more polished printout. 
You can select any portion of the 
worksheet for printing, consis- 
tent with an 80-character line. 

I found Spectaculator to be 
useful for fairly simple 
budgeting, in which a few col- 
umns of results are derived from 
several columns of data and 
both horizontal and vertical 
summations are required. 
Because of its limited 
mathematical functions, calcula- 
tions requiring operations such 
as exponentiation become 
awkward. It also prevents the 
taking of roots other than the 
square root. 

Several aspects of the system 
only emerge when you give it an 
actual test case. It wasn't until I 
had it sum 22 rows of data that I 
realized there is no way to ex- 
clude individual columns from 
the sum if they contain numeri- 
cal data. Not only did I get the 
total annual budgets for my 22 
programs, I also got the sum of 
the 22 program ID numbers? 
There is an easy fix for this par- 
ticular case: Just enter such 
identifying numbers as text. 



BUSINESS/PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS 



Another shortcoming is the 
lack of a desk calculator mode 
for changing individual entries 
in the middle of a worksheet. 

Spectaculator's operation has 
an asymmetry that deserves 
mention. That is, you can erase 
a derived column, formula and 
all, you can erase the data in a 
column, but you can't leave the 
data and just erase the formula. 
Spectaculator also lacks the 
ability to copy a single row or 
column. I also miss something 
like Basic's Print Using com- 
mand. There really are times 
when you'd like calculated 
results to be displayed with ex- 
actly one decimal place, trailing 
zeroes or no! 

It is not for the elaborate 
analysis of scientific data, but if 
you need straightforward 
manipulations for home, busi- 
ness, or organization, give Spec- 
taculator a try. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $39.95.) 

Scott L. Norman 
November 1982 

Statistical Analysis 
(See Page 10) 



Visigraph 

Micro Software Systems 

Model I or III 

Visigraph is a TRS-80 program 
intended primarily to produce 
graphs and charts from data 
generated by the popular 
VisiCalc program. Designed to 
work with the Epson MX-80 and 
MX- 100 printers (Model III), or 
the Epsons plus the IDS Paper 
Tiger 440-G or 445-G (Model I), 
Visigraph offers high resolution. 



the ability to title and label 
graphs and charts, and a user- 
definable character set of plot- 
ting symbols. 

Visigraph also permits the 
graphing of your own program's 
data, using VisiCalc's DIF (data 
interchange format). 

Visigraph is distributed for the 
Model I on single-density, 
35-track, NEWDOS-formatted 
disks. Model III disks are 
available for the TRSDOS 1.3 or 
the DOSPLUS 3.4 user. Both ver> 
sions require 48K of memory. 

This is not a program for the 
novice computer user. Visigraph 
requires a working knowledge of 
the computer system and 
VisiCalc. Visigraph does not 
allow the plotting of VisiCalc 
files at the mere touch of a but- 
ton; you have to install it and set 
up each graphform first. But, the 
program has many excellent 
features that make it a valuable 
tool for the VisiCalc user. 

Visigraph has two features 
that make it especially in- 
teresting—symbol definition and 
auto scaling. The program uses 
12 symbols for making its 
graphs and charts, and, if you 
prefer, you can create your own 
symbol. The auto-scaling func- 
tion automatically calculates the 
most readable increment for any 
scale you attempt to plot. 

Most of Visigraph's features 
are well-planned and executed. 
The documentation is well- 
written and complete. 

If Visigraph has a fault, it is 
simply that it works with only 
certain printers. However, since 
it is written mostly in Basic, you 
can alter the program to drive 
any printer that recognizes 
CHR$ codes. 

(Micro Software Systems, 
1815 Smokewood Ave., Fuller^ 



SOFTWARE 



ton, CA 92631; $79 Model I, $89 
Model III) 

G. Michael Vose 
October 1982 



:OMPILERS- 



-^ -^ ^ ^ 

ACCEL2 
Southern Software 

* 'A' * V2 

Basic Compiler 
Microsoft 
Model I and III 

Here are two programs that 
will help you speed up your 
TRS-80 without resorting to 
hardware modifications or com* 
plete program rewrites in 
machine code. 

The Basic Compiler from 
Microsoft and the ACCEL2 com- 
piler from Southern Software 
can each compile Basic pro- 
grams written on a disk-based 
TRS-80. 

Microsoft's compiler appears 
not to have been written spe- 
cifically for the TRS-80. It comes 
with a manual for Basic-80, 
which is similar to the TRS-80 
implementation of Basic, but 
with a few enhancements (Swap. 
While/ Wend, and Call to name 
three) that can be used in the 
compiled programs, but can- 
not be tested in the interpreter 
mode. 

The Microsoft compiler pro- 
duces a relocatable binary file of 
machine code that runs from the 
DOS mode. The procedure for 
using it is quite involved, not 
automatic. The operator must 
swap disks and interact with the 
computer at certain points dur- 

16 



ing the compile and link opera- 
tions. The Basic program to be 
compiled must first be saved on 
disk as an ASCII file. 

Southern Software's ACCEL2 
is easy to use. Once loaded, the 
compiler need only be called by 
the command "/FIX" to 
automatically carry out the four- 
pass compile operation. It can be 
called over and over to compile 
different Basic programs. 

ACCEL2 takes about 30 
seconds to compile 200 lines of 
code. The Microsoft system takes 
several minutes to compile even 
a short program due to the 
swapping of disks and loading of 
library routines. 

ACCEL2 does not produce a 
machine-code module, but 
operates in the Basic interpreter 
environment with hooks to 
machine-code routines. It can 
selectively compile specific types 
of statements under program- 
mer control. It has statements to 
save, load, or run compiled pro- 
grams, and even a limited chain- 
ing capacity that can load and 
run both compiled and noncom- 
piled programs from a program 
that is running. 

With ACCEL2, noncompiled 
statements are processed at run- 
time by the normal interpreter. 
This does not mean that a pro- 
gram compiled by ACCEL2 nec- 
essarily runs slower than the 
same program compiled by the 
Microsoft compiler. It depends 
on the complexity of the 
program. 

To increase the speed of Set, 
Reset, and Point, the Microsoft 
compiler produces only slightly 
higher increases than ACCEL2. 
In my tests I found purely 
graphic programs increased by 
as little as 1.5: 1, to as much as 
13: 1 using the Microsoft system. 



COMPILERS 



The speed-up factor using AC- 
CEL2 varied from 4: 1 to 8: 1. 

On the other hand, programs 
with much single-precision 
number crunching may ex- 
perience only a 2: 1 speed-up uS' 
ing ACCEL2, but can exhibit as 
much as a 5: 1 speed-up if com- 
piled via the Microsoft Basic 
compiler. 

A Star Trek program I have 
occupies exactly 10,002 bytes in 
Basic. When compiled by the 
Microsoft compiler it occupies 
over 27,000 bytes. 

The same program compiled 
by ACCEL2 takes up 16,997 
bytes. ACCEL2 needs 5,632 
bytes of P^M at compile time, 
and can use as little as 1,280 
bytes at run-time. The TRS-80 
ROM routines are used 
whenever possible. 

The compiled code may be 
larger than the Basic code it 
replaces, but not nearly as large 
as the same program compiled 
by the Microsoft system. For 
many short programs, the 
Microsoft system produces at 
least 10,000-byte modules, 
whereas ACCEL2 may need only 
2,000 to 3,000, including its run- 
time component. 

Both compilers may require 
that the original Basic program 
be cleaned up before compila- 
tion. To obtain a speed improve- 
ment, your code must be logical. 

What may seem perfectly 
logical for the TRS-80 Basic in- 
terpreter may not be logical for a 
compiler. 

There are more restrictions on 
the program source code (the 
original Basic listing) with either 
compiler. ACCEL2 has a com- 
piler option called NOARRAY 
that prevents compilation of all 
array variable references and 
causes all arrays to be processed 



by the interpreter at run-time. 
There are no array restrictions if 
ACCEL2 is used with this op- 
tion, but as a consequence, the 
program runs more slowly. 

ACCEL2 has another option: 
EXPR or NOEXPR. These com- 
mands control the compilation of 
Let, For, POKE, Set, Reset, and 
If. EXPR causes compilation, 
NOEXPR prevents it. These can 
be used throughout the program 
to selectively turn compilation 
on and off. If not compiled, these 
statements are executed by the 
interpreter at run-time. This 
slows the operation, but if 
planned properly, the speed loss 
will be minimal and the space 
saved significant. 

The Microsoft compiler has 
many compile options (called 
switches), but none of them do 
the things described for the AC- 
CEL2 compiler. There are about 
20 switches in all; if you like 
many possibilities, the Microsoft 
compiler has them. 

The Microsoft offering is part 
of a system of advanced pro- 
grams allowing many combina- 
tions of languages and functions 
to interact. It is not for begin- 
ners; it is complex and requires 
a minimum of 48K in a disk- 
based system. It offers higher 
speed-up for mathematical 
operations and more flexibility 
for the advanced programmer 
than ACCEL2. 

ACCEL2 is easier to use, re- 
quires only 16K of memory, and 
offers excellent speed-up perfor- 
mance for logic and graphics 
programs. It can be used by 
anyone who has mastered 
TRSDOS, and operates on 
Models I and III. There is also 
a tape version available, called 
ACCEL. 

ACCEL2 has another advan- 



17 



SOFTWARE 



tage for those of you who like to 
sell or trade software you have 
written: No royalty payment is 
required if you distribute pro- 
grams compiled by ACCEL2. 
ACCEL2 allows you to make 
either tape or disk copies of com- 
piled software, along with the 
necessary run-time component. 
Southern Software requests that 
you put a copyright notice on 
the tape or disk label, but does 
not request a royalty. 

Microsoft requires 9 percent of 
the end-user price per copy, or a 
flat $195 per year (cheaper if you 
sell over $2,166.67 worth of soft- 
ware a year). 

I feel that each compiler offers 
truly improved capabilities for 
the TRS-80, ACCEL2 being the 
lower cost alternative (and best 
for compiling programs of logic 
and graphics routines). The 
Microsoft system is aimed at the 
more advanced programmer, 
allows one to interface with 
other languages, and is best at 
speeding up number-crunching 
programs. 

(ACCEL2, by Southern Soft- 
ware, Eastleigh, Hants, 
England, is now ACCEL3 and 4 
and is distributed by Allen 
Gelder Software, Box 1 1 721 
Main P.O., San Francisco, CA 
94101, $99.95. Basic Compiler, 
for the Model I only, by 
Microsoft, 10700 Northup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98004; $329.) 

Dennis Wilkins 
May 1982 

■^ ■^ -^ -^ 

BASCOM 

Basic Compiler for Model I 

Microsoft 

Model I 

Microsoft promised that their 



compiler, BASCOM, could in- 
crease speed anywhere from 3 to 
30 times over the interpreter's 
execution. To test this claim, I 
ran a statistical program that I 
occasionally use with the inter- 
preter. With the interpreter, the 
computations were completed in 
23 seconds. The compiled ver- 
sion ran in less than a second! 

To use BASCOM, you must 
write a normal program for the 
TRS-80 Disk Basic interpreter. 
There are only a few unimpor- 
tant incompatibilities. You also 
need 48K RAM with at least one 
disk drive; two drives, especially 
40-track ones, are better. 

You can only run programs of 
about 16K or less in length. The 
compiler reads source code from 
disk, but the linking loader loads 
the program into memory. The 
object code and the run-time 
system require substantially 
more memory than the original 
source code. With memory area 
taken up by the loader, little 
room is left for lengthy 
programs. 

The only other limitation is 
the inability of the USR(n) func- 
tion to pass arguments to 
machine-language subroutines. 
But you can fix that. 

Included with the BASCOM 
documentation is a Basic-80 
Reference Manual. Basic-80 
costs about the same as a new 
disk drive, but purchasers of 
Microsoft's Basic Compiler gel it 
at no extra cost. 

This Basic-80 has the ability to 
reset the width of your screen or 
printed display. While . . . Wend 
loops, variable names with 40 
significant characters, SWAP, 
and CALL (a fix for the USR(n) 
problem). However, you don't 
get the interpreter, meaning that 
you have to write the source 



18 



COMPILERS 



code and then compile it before 
you can run it. 

Errors in standard Basic can 
be detected by running the pro- 
gram using the interpreter, and 
then correcting any detected er- 
rors. Mistakes in either Disk 
Basic or Basic-80 will show up. 
when being compiled, with error 
codes, the line containing the er- 
ror, and an arrow pointing to the 
error. 

Considering this compiler is 
the same software that is being 
sold for Model II and CP/M users 
for about twice that price, we 
Model I users are getting a real 
break! I heartily recommend 
BASCOM. It's like going from a 
cassette player to a disk drive 
again. 

(Microsoft 10700 Northup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98004; $195.) 

Bill Sholar 
May 1981 

•^ ^ ^ V2 

Basic Compiler 
Microsoft 
Model II 

I bought Microsoft's Basic 
Compiler to make more memory 
available on my Model II and to 
make the programs execute 
faster. Although it will run on 
one drive, you need two drives 
to transfer the files to a sys- 
tem disk. 

The documentation is divided 
into several sections. The first 
and largest section deals with 
the commands available in the 
Microsoft version of the Basic 
language. The information deal- 
ing with the Model II version of 
the compiler is contained in six 
pages appended to the front of 
the manual. The appended infor- 
mation deals mainly with the 
commands (instructions) that 
are not legal in this compiler 



version. 

The system's greatest deficien- 
cy is its documentation. 
Microsoft has fallen into the trap 
of trying to make one documen- 
tation package serve for every 
conceivable application. A com- 
piler is fundamentally different 
from an interpreter and deserves 
separate instructions. Five or six 
pages of addenda cannot begin 
to provide the detail required to 
effectively use this powerful tool. 

The manual states that dashes 
must be substituted for slashes; 
:TT (for CRT display), not TTY:. 
and :LP for line printer. I typed 
the command line to compile, 
and the disk drive commenced 
to spin furiously, but only a 
few lines of output appeared on 
the CRT. 

After struggling awhile, I 
decided that the compiler might 
not accept the compressed for- 
mat for Basic. I loaded the Basic 
interpreter, read my program 
from the disk, and saved it in 
ASCII using the ",A" extension. 
One appendix does state that the 
compiler will accept ASCII files. 

I returned to TRSDOS and 
entered the Basic compiler com- 
mand. I had to eliminate several 
errors, including one labeled 
LL— line too long. I discovered 
that it wasn't the indicated lines 
that were too long but the lines 
following the indicated lines. 

Once I figured out how to use 
the compiler, I decided to per- 
form a few experiments to deter- 
mine what kind of increase in 
processing speed I could expect. 
After I had a small Basic pro- 
gram running in the interpreter 
mode, I made the changes re- 
quired for the compiler (such as 
deleting the Clear statement) 
and saved an ASCII version to 
compile. I then ran both versions 



19 



SOFTWARE 



of the program and, using the in- 
ternal clock in the Model II. 
printed the time required to per- 
form the various functions. 

As I expected, there was little 
difference in the screen display 
time (although the compiled ver- 
sion appeared slightly faster) or 
the printout. A significant dif- 
ference in the string-search 
times was indicated. 

The string-search test con- 
sisted of establishing a 
2,000-item array with a five- 
character pattern in each item. A 
loop was established to search 
the array using the INSTR$ 
function. I set the last item in 
the array to the pattern I was 
searching for. The interpreter 
version took 16 seconds to find 
the required item. The compiler 
version took just four seconds, a 
4-to-l advantage in speed. 

I noticed I had used a single- 
precision variable for the loop 
counter, so I changed the 
variable to an integer-type 
variable in both versions of the 
program, recompiled, and ran 
the test again. The interpreter 
version run-time was reduced by 
a second or two, but the com- 
piled version now ran in only 
two seconds. This would in- 
dicate that programs requiring 
searches of large numbers of 
string items would run seven or 
eight times faster using com- 
piled versions. 

I have since received Version 
5.2 of Microsoft's Compiler.2. 
This version adds the include/ 
function that lets a programmer 
create subroutines and add them 
to a program without reentering 
the code (a very handy function). 

Version 5.2 also eliminates the 
step of dumping the object code 
to a command file during the 
load process. A new compile 

20 



switch has also been added to 
allow compiling using one set of 
Basic conventions and execute 
using another. Considering all 
the improvements, the latest ver- 
sion is a significant step forward. 
(Microsoft, 10700 Northup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98004: $400.) 

James L. Waggoner 
May 1981 

T^ '^ * V2 

Microsoft Basic Compiler 

Microsoft 

Model I 

^^ ^^ ^^ 

Radio Shack Basic Compiler 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I and III 

Microsoft's Basic Compiler is 
almost totally compatible with 
Level II and Disk Basic (when 
running TRSDOS 2.3). You can 
run and debug your program us- 
ing the interpreter and then 
compile it for additional speed. 
This means all the excellent 
debugging tools Basic offers are 
available, plus such utility pro- 
grams as Boss to make debug- 
ging even easier. Debugging 
compiled Basic is difficult and 
there is a long delay while 
the program compiles again 
each time you change the 
source code. 

The Radio Shack compiler can 
only run programs after compila- 
tion. It has some debugging 
features (such as tracing line 
numbers, checking variable 
values, though this is awkward, 
and stepping through a program 
line by line), but this is not as 
convenient as using the inter- 
preter. Documentation of how to 
access these features is poor and 
checking variable values is awk- 
ward. The biggest problem with 



COMPILERS 



this computer is that you must 
compile the corrected program 
again. 

The Radio Shack compiler 
generates shorter object code 
programs than Microsoft's. Both 
compilers require a runtime 
module to be used with the pro- 
gram's object file. Thus the ob- 
ject code is not pure machine 
code and cannot be used on just 
any Z80 computer. The Radio 
Shack compiler loads and saves 
source code very, very, very 
slowly! 

Both compilers offer sequential 
and random access files. Radio 
Shack's Compiler Basic permits 
adding new data to a sequential 
file after closing it, and lets you 
use variable length random ac- 
cess records. The Microsoft com- 
piler must use the 256-byte ran- 
dom access records TRSDOS 2.3 
allows. Generally, Compiler 
Basic offers easier file handling. 

An indexed file is a Radio 
Shack option; it lets you tie a 
key to each record. You can then 
use the key word or number to 
access that record in the future. 
The Call statement allows you to 
organize the program in mod- 
ules, carrying data directly to 
and getting it back from 
modules very easily. To speed 
up debugging, you can write a 
short program to test each 
module before you incorporate it 
into the main program—short 
programs compile much faster 
than long ones. You can create a 
library of modules in either 
source or object code and ap- 
pend or incorporate them into 
your programs as required. 

Neither system permits using 
variables or expressions in a DIM 
statement. Only constants are 
allowed. 

The Radio Shack compiler per- 



mits long variable names. The 
first six characters are signifi- 
cant. It uses integer or double 
precision (called REAL in Radio 
Shack Compiler Basic), not 
single precision, variables. All 
the usual Basic statements are 
present in Compiler Basic, with 
a few additions. 

A potentially useful statement 
is On Break Goto .... You can- 
not, however, use this statement 
in a main program as it is not 
recognized in any of the 
modules; if you use it in a 
module it is only recognized in 
that module. 

Editing is a sore point in the 
Radio Shack compiler; once you 
are used to the character editing 
features in Microsoft Basic you 
will find Radio Shack editing 
very primitive. You can change a 
character or group of characters 
in a line, but it is all very 
awkward. 

The Radio Shack program 
compiles in one step. You do not 
have to worry about the linking 
loader and subroutine library. 
Thus compilation is much 
easier, but takes about the same 
length of time for long programs. 

The Radio Shack compiler 
runs on either the Model I or 
Model III; both versions are sup- 
plied when you purchase the 
program. As this is written, the 
Microsoft compiler runs only on 
the Model I, though I suspect 
there will be a Model III version 
by the time you read this. 

Both compilers come with a 
fat loose-leaf manual. If you are 
fluent in Microsoft Basic and 
TRSDOS Disk Basic the Micro- 
soft manual is better; the Radio 
Shack manual leaves some 
points rather obscure. 

Programs created by the 
Microsoft compiler run much 



&• I 



SOFTWARE 



faster when you use integer 
variables, and about the same 
speed when you use single and 
double-precision variables, with 
infrequent integer use. If you use 
the optional Basic-80 syntax 
with the Microsoft program you 
gain most of the special features 
Radio Shack's Compiler Basic of- 
fers, but lose the use of the in- 
terpreter. Debugging becomes 
much harder. 

Please note this warning not 
found in Radio Shack's docu- 
mentation: if you have source 
code in memory and compile it 
all goes well if there is room in 
memory for the object code. If 
you run out of memory the sys- 
tem freezes up; your own 
recourse is to reboot, losing the 
source code forever if you did 
not save it before trying to 
compile. 

If you are fluent in Microsoft 
Level II Basic and TRSDOS Disk 
Basic then you will find the 
Microsoft compiler easier to use. 
However, Radio Shack's Com- 
piler Basic is not much different, 
especially if you disregard the 
differences in file handling. A 
very nice feature of the Microsoft 
compiler is that most Basic pro- 
grams you already have will 
probably compile with few or no 
changes. The Radio Shack com- 
piler accepts regular Basic pro- 
grams saved in ASCII (,A 
option), but you will still have 
more changing to do to get the 
program to run than you would 
using Microsoft's program. This 
can be difficult with Radio 
Shack's poor editor. 

The Radio Shack compiler is 
$50 cheaper. I prefer it for the 
kinds of programs (business, 
data base) I write. If I were doing 
games or using a lot of graphics I 
would prefer Microsoft's, 



because of the ability to use the 
interpreter for debugging. 
(Microsoft, 10700 Northup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98004: Model I 
and III, $329. Tandy/Radio 
Shack, Fort Worth, TX 76102; 
$149.) 

Ken Knecht 
September 1982 

^ ^ ^ 

UCSD Pascal Compiler 
FMG Corporation 
Model I 

The FMG Pascal Compiler 
package is on three disks. The 
modules are arranged to allow 
for maximum free space on 
the disk, which is usually 
about 30K. 

The Pascal Compiler gives you 
several modules with which to 
work, including the linker, com- 
piler, execute, run, file, and edit. 
All the modules work well and 
generate nice, compact code. 

The sore point of the package 
is the documentation. The 
manual was written to supple- 
ment a teacher's instruction and 
does not teach you Pascal. You 
must learn it from another 
source to use this compiler. 
(FMG Corporation, Fort Worth, 
TX. The UCSD Compiler is no 
longer available.) 

Dennis Thurlow 
October 1981 

•^ ^ ^ 

ZBasic Compiler 
Sim.utek 
Model I 

ZBasic comes in two packages; 
the first contains 16K and 32K 
versions for tape-based systems 
and the second has 32K and 
48K versions for disk-based 
systems. 



22 



COMPILERS 



On the positive side is the 
small size of the compiler, the 
awesome speed with which it 
compiles, the run-time speed of 
the programs it compiles, the in- 
teractive nature of the compiler, 
the fact that you can compile a 
4K Basic program in 16K, and 
that the compiler is yours when 
you buy it (no royalties to pay). 

ZBasic sits in a fixed block of 
RAM, and its ORG depends on 
the version you use. The 32K 
version resides from 8680H to 
9580H. Section 9200-9580 con- 
tains the subroutine package 
that gets tacked onto your pro- 
gram and speeds compiling as 
well as increasing run time 
speed. You could conceivably 
move the compiler anywhere 
you like by using an edi- 
tor/assembler. 

The program compiles faster 
than a speeding daisy wheel. I 
compiled a 2.5K Basic program 
in less than five seconds. I'm im- 
pressed with the speed of this 
program. 

The ZBasic manual lists run 
times for various commands in 
Basic and ZBasic. The increases 
in speed are from six times 
faster for A$ = INKEY$ to 12 
times faster for Set and Reset 
and up to 288 times faster for 
Jump commands such as GOTO 
and GOSUB. Using the Set com- 
mand in a tight double loop, 
Level II EJasic requires 50 
seconds to white out the screen. 
In its compiled form, it takes 
three seconds? 

ZBasic syntax is slightly dif- 
ferent than Level II. A very nice 
feature of the compiler is its 
ability to jump back and forth 
between the Basic program. 
ZBasic, and DOS, enabling you 
to check for syntax problems as 
you tidy up your debugged Basic 




#3«sPRiNTTAB(30) "SCORE. 
AND ao^^m nMr; i;?.- 



M OB 



Pr^o^ND G2<l0 AND G3<:0 
14 ELSE IF Gl<=rANirf;^° « 



program. 

The compiler checks for errors 
during compile time and if it 
finds one, will return the type of 
error and the line number where 
it occurs. If you attempt to jump 
to a nonexistent line, you get a 
peculiar error message, like line 
error in line 67757, which may 
cause some consternation if the 
highest line number in your pro- 
gram is 200. 

The manual lists some poten- 
tial causes and corrections of er- 
rors. If you get an error message 
giving a line number that 
doesn't exist, try renumbering 
your program in high memory, 
and you will be able to locate the 
problem. 

Another advantage of this pro- 
gram is that you can compile a 
4K program in 16K. Note, 
however, that you can only com- 
pile for a 16K machine using the 
16K version, as the compiled 
program resides in a fixed block 
of RAM and the larger versions 
won't run in 16K. 

Finally, I like the fact that 
when I buy this program, it is 
mine and mine alone. I don't 
have to pay anyone any money 
(except Uncle Sam) when I sell 
programs I write with ZBasic, 
unlike Microsoft's compiler. 



am^ 



SOFTWARE 



This is not the ideal compiler 
for all applications. It only 
handles integers, does not work 
with arrays, limits your variables 
considerably, does not support 
all Level II commands and 
starts, and compiles into fixed 
RAM locations. 

Part of the reason the compiler 
works so fast is that it only 
handles integers. This is also 
why the compiled programs run 
so quickly. Multiple precision 
takes time and memory space; 
the compiler would have to be 
larger and slower to handle 
nonintegers. However, you do 
need greater than integer ac- 
curacy for lots of applications. 

The compiler also doesn't han- 
dle arrays. They can be 
simulated by fixing a block of 
RAM somewhere and using 
PEEK and POKE to store data. 
This requires some thinking on 
the user's part and rewriting 
most programs, but the method 
works. 

Normally in Level II you have 
many variables: AA to ZZ, where 
the second letter can be 
anything from any letter to a 
single digit number. ZBasic uses 
fixed RAM locations for its 
variables and limits your 
variables to save space. You can 
use 26 string variables, A$ to 
Z$, each of 31 characters. If the 
string is longer, you will over- 
write the string above it. 
Numerical variables run from 
A-Z, Al-Zl. and A2-Z2. This is 
a fair number of variables, but it 
is inconvenient to rewrite pro- 
grams changing all instances of 
several variables. 

Some Level II commands are 
not supported, and the manual 
contains a long alphabetical list 
of these commands. It does give 
short routines to simulate SIN 



and COS and various string 
functions. The meanings of 
some other Basic commands are 
changed slightly as well. For ex- 
ample, you cannot use the logic 
operators AND and OR in condi- 
tional If. . .Then statements, 
and if you use logical math 
operators, syntax must be close- 
ly watched. 

One major fault of this pro- 
gram is that it fixes the RAM 
locations of its compiled pro- 
grams. It would be nice to be 
able to use the 32K version to 
write programs for a 16K 
machine. In the 32K version, the 
program begins at 9200H (the 
subroutine package); 846 bytes 
later, the compiled version of 
your program is tacked on. 
Variable memory for the 32K 
version begins at BCOOH. To 
move the program to another 
memory location is a lot of work, 
using a disassembler and an 
editor/assembler. 

The manual does give valu- 
able information, but I don't feel 
it goes far enough. An alphabet- 
ical listing of commands sup- 
ported by ZBasic, an index, a 
more complete explanation of 
syntax differences, and error 
codes are all things the manual 
should include. It does show 
how to link compiled programs 
(NEWDOS only), and gives some 
routines to get around or sim- 
ulate normal Basic functions in 
ZBasic, and gives a memory 
map for the different versions, 
including the various fixed RAM 
locations for the variables. A 
complete map for the subroutine 
package would be nice, so that 
you could easily link different 
machine-language programs 
together with your ZBasic pro- 
gram. As it is, you must use the 
Level II USR format even with 



24 



COMPILERS 



the disk versions. 

I am impressed with several 
aspects of ZBasic. Its most unfor- 
tunate aspect is the fixed-memo- 
ry ORGs for compiled programs. 
Lack of higher-precision arith- 
metic can be a major problem. 
(ZBasic Compiler, now version 
2.2, is sold by Simutek, 4897 E. 
Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 
85712; cassette $79.95, disk 
$89.95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
June 1981 



"^ "^ "^ "^ 
ZBasic 2.0 
Simmtek 
Model I and III 

ZBasic is back and is vastly 
improved. In a previous review I 
said that it had some major 
problems, including integer 
math only, non-relocatable pro- 
grams, and that it did not sup- 
port all variable names. Well, 
these and other flaws have been 
corrected. 

ZBasic is easier to use than 
ever. When calling ZBasic from 
disk (or loading from tape), it in- 
terfaces with the keyboard 
device control block. The com- 
pilation speed is slightly slower 
than the old version, but it is still 
incredibly fast. Compiled pro- 
gram speed is fast, too. Basic 
took over 50 seconds to white 
out the screen using a tight SET 
loop; ZBasic whites it out in 
under a second. 

ZBasic still lets you jump back 
and forth between your Basic 
and compiled programs, making 
it the only interactive compiler 
available for any machine, to the 
best of my knowledge. ZBasic 
also allows TRON/TROFF to 
trace the execution of compiled 



programs. 

After loading the compiler, 
ZBasic asks if you wish to 
change any parameters. If you 
do not, the compiler loads nor- 
mally; if you do, you may choose 
from a variety of options. 

The manual is also much im- 
proved. Simutek has added an 
index and a command descrip- 
tion section. It is easier to read 
and contains more useful infor- 
mation. 

ZBasic 2.0 supports high- 
precision math. But the compiler 
is available with and without the 
high-precision math routines. 
The routines use about 700 
bytes of memory; if you need 
this space, you can simply use 
the version without them. 

ZBasic 2.0 has several im- 
provements over Basic, in- 
cluding: the Block move of 
memory (10,000 bytes per sec- 
ond); the Compare command (to 
find byte sequence in memory); 
the Invert memory command 
(great for graphics); the Tone 
generator (for external speaker); 
High-speed multiply and divide; 
Cassette I/O; Single-byte disk I/O; 
Enable/disable interrupts; Read 
stack pointer; 16-bit PEEK; and 
improve user-defined machine- 
language routine calling com- 
mands (pass four or six registers). 

ZBasic is an interactive com- 
piler, meaning your source, ob- 
ject (compiled) and compiler pro- 
grams are all coresident within 
memory simultaneously. When 
you activate the compiler, 
ZBasic compiles your programs 
and gives you the options of 
returning to Basic, running the 
compiled program, or saving the 
program to disk or tape. If you 
set the configuration to relocate 
your object program elsewhere, 
you can't execute it, but you can 






SOFTWARE 



save it. If you have dreams of 
writing 16K machine games on 
your 48K computer, ZBasic may 
prove invaluable. 

When the compiler detects an 
error, it returns an error mes- 
sage, error line number, and 
makes it relatively easy to 
remove errors quickly, and it 
minimizes the pain of correcting 
syntax differences. 

Missing in the manual is a 
subroutine map of the run-time 
system. 

Simutek thoughtfully included 
a Misosys program called 
CMDFILE, useful for appending 
two or more CMD files or System 
tapes into one file; offsetting a 
tape or disk file so it loads into 
an area other than where it was 
meant to execute; appending 
machine-language programs 
with "patched" code without 
reassembling the program; 
single-drive copy of CMD files; 
and creating System tapes from 
non-continuous blocks of 
memory. 

ZBasic 2.0 is a powerful, in- 
teractive compiler possessing 
capabilities beyond those offered 
by any other compiler on the 
market. Although it generally re- 
quires rewriting of source pro- 
grams to compile them with 
ZBasic, the compiler works in- 
credibly quickly, as do the object 
programs. 

Best of all, no royalties need be 
paid for selling compiled pro- 
grams. ZBasic 2.0 has my 
highest recommendation. 
(Simutek, 4897 E. Speedway 
Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85712. 
ZBasic version 2.2 is now 
available for $99.95 cassette, 
$89.95 disk.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
May 1982 

26 



DATABASE- 
MANAGERS 



"^ "^ ^ 

Aids II 

Aids III 

Meta Technologies 

Model I and III 

Aids II, a program that writes 
programs, has answered my 
business needs. I've used Aids II 
to write some useful data-base 
management software. 

I received the software along 
with a 36-page manual that was 
clearly written and concise. It 
contained explanations of the 
various functions of the Aids II 
system and also a sample pro- 
gram that gave me hands-on ex- 
perience without risking 
valuable real data. 

As the weeks went by, I 
created a number of programs 
with the Aids II systems. At that 
time I realized I needed more 
than Aids II's 12 user-defined 
fields. 

Aids III answered my prob- 
lems. It features 20 user-defined 
fields and includes a machine- 
language sort., search and delete. 
It also includes Maps, which pro- 
duces custom reports either 
horizontally or vertically and a 
very flexible label routine. 

A few weeks after I received 
Aids III, Calcs was released. It 
can be used for any type of 
numeric manipulation. The 
combination of Aids III, Maps, 
and Calcs satisfies my business 
program generation needs. What 
impresses me the most about 
this system is its flexibility. By 
changing only a few lines I can 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



write any program I desire and 
manipulate data quickly. 

The machine-language sort 
can sort by any combination of 
five fields in ascending or 
descending order, or in any com^ 
bination. Aids III was also com- 
patible with files created under 
the Aids II. 

Many data-base systems 
presently market at over $100. 
The data bases I have created 
with the Aids system has outper- 
formed them all. The Aids III 
system is worth every dollar for 
business as well as personal use. 
(Meta Technologies, 261 1 1 
Brush Ave., Euclid, OH 44132. 
Aids III sells for $79.95, also see 
the April 1 983 issue of 80 
Micro.) 

David E. Wareham 
April 1981 



•^ ^ ^ y2 

Aids III with Calcs III 
Meta Technologies 

-^ ^ ^1/2 

CCA Data Manager 

Personal Software 



Max! Micro Manager 
Evador Inc./ 

Adventure International 
odel I or III 

Meta Technologies' Aids III is a 
sequential data base; it contains 
all the records in the computer's 
memory at one time. The 
number of records that will fit 
depends upon the size of the 
machine and how many fields 
are used. 

A direct access data base 
brings the records into a com- 
puter's memory from a disk one 



at a time. The limit is not 
machine capacity but disk size. 
Personal Software's CCA Data 
Manager is a direct access data 
base in which no one file can be 
larger than a single disk. 

Maxi Micro Manager System 
(MMS) from Exador Inc. is also a 
random data base. However, 
MMS can span disk drives, 
allowing one file to carry over to 
more than one disk. Thus, it has 
the largest capacity of the three 
programs. 

CCA gave the best first 
impression. The manual is 
printed on heavy paper and is 
contained within a three-ring 
binder. It is able to withstand the 
constant use to which most 
manuals are subjected. 

Unlike CCA, the Aid's manual 
assumes the user has some com- 
puter knowledge. The inexperi- 
enced user is referred to the DOS 
manual. The Aids manual ex- 
plains how to use the program 
and includes many examples 
and flowcharts. 

The MMS manual, a paper- 
bound, indexless booklet, is 
more concerned with the theory 
of operation than specific details. 
It does cover file structure quite 
thoroughly, as well as the Basic 
words created for the program. 

Initializing and Input 

CCA capacity on a single-drive 
system is quite small— unless 
the program and data are kept 
on separate disks. I had only 
about 100 financial transactions 
on a disk, but it was impossible 
to sort the data due to lack of 
disk space. Removing the pro- 
gram helps considerably. Single- 
drive owners can only half-fill a 
disk if sorting is desired. 

With Aids III the program is 
initialized by editing data lines 



27 



SOFTWARE 



within the program. Errors are 
easy to correct; just edit the line 
again. Field errors are not 
available instantly, as in CCA 
and MMS, but may be obtained 
by using Calcs III. 

In overall display effectiveness 
and user interaction techniques. 
Aids and MMS are about equal. 




and are much better than CCA. 

CCA screen displays are poor; 
however, CCA is the oldest of the 
three programs. The input 
screens scroll from one record to 
the next, and there is no 
graphics indication of field 
length as a guide to correct 
entry. 

The input screens for MMS are 
nicely designed and functional. 
Dots indicate the size of each 
field and graphics blocks show 
the field being typed. 

The Aids input screen, like 
MMS, clearly shows the length of 
each field, using graphics blocks. 



Input is very flexible. You don't 
need to finish the record before 
correcting an error. The up and 
down arrows move the cursor to 
any field for data correction. 
Since Aids is a sequential data 
base, records are not written to 
disk after each entry. Therefore, 
adding records is a fast process. 

Aids is the only program of the 
three that allows you to quit 
easily. 

Aids and MMS are both slow 
during input. Typing must be 
done at moderate pace, with fre- 
quent glances at the screen to be 
sure all data is accepted. The 
flashing cursor is responsible for 
this slow pace. 

CCA, with its more primitive 
style, allows faster typing but is 
less clear. The addition of 
records takes time, and certainly 
calls for making backup copies. 

Update and Sort 

MMS and Aids assume the 
operator won't always know the 
record number when he re- 
quests an update. They provide 
the search function as a subcom- 
mand for any update. Aids finds 
records so quickly you don't 
need record numbers. MMS re- 
quests a number if you know it, 
to save time. Both programs pro- 
vide nice screens for updates 
with field length indicators. MMS 
requests the number of the field 
to change. Aids uses arrow keys 
to move the cursor to the desired 
spot, and uses shift/up or down 
arrow to page forward or back to 
the next record in the search. 
MMS allows paging back or for- 
ward to the next record in the 
file, rather than the next record 
in the search. 

CCA again suffers from sloppy 
screen display in this mode. The 
request for editing a record re- 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



quires a record number. And 
when the selected record is dis- 
played, CCA prompts "Is this 
the record?", to which the 
user must reply yes or no. Sim- 
ply typing Y or N defaults to 
menu and the search must be 
started over. 

CCA can easily handle more 
than one field at a time. This is 
vital for some uses. For example, 
you may need to sort an inven- 
tory by vendor, then by item 
number. 

CCA's sort can easily handle 
multiple fields. This feature 
alone may make it the best data 
base to choose. There ai-e, 
however, some drawbacks. The 
sort is the slowest of the three 
programs, since it is entirely in 
Basic. Another is that disk space 
is limited. Sorting creates 
another full file of data, as well 
as a working file. For this 
reason, a disk must be less than 
full before you try a sort on a 
one-disk system. 

The Aids program has the 
fastest sort since it is in machine 
language, and holds all the 
records in memory. Like CCA, 
Aids can sort more than one 
field at a time. It can't sort 
within a stated range, but since 
printouts are available on a 
range basis, this feature is not 
vital. 

The MMS program can only 
sort one field at a time. While 
sorting, MMS is more efficient 
with disk space than CCA; it is a 
machine-language sort. 

Print and Calculate 

The quick printout for Aids 
goes to screen if the printer is 
shut off. As in all Aids com- 
mands, any range of records 
may be selected. User-selected 
fields are printed across the 



page. The Aids printout is the 
simplest of the three to operate. 

In CCA, there is no on-screen 
help for using the print function. 
You must refer to the manual 
and type in a long list of param- 
eters. Errors usually require you 
to begin over. 

One complication to printing a 
CCA file is that a sorted file can- 
not be used until it is renamed, 
by exiting the program and us- 
ing DOS. If you want a printout 
of a new sort, both the new and 
the original file must be speci- 
fied. The print file can't be saved 
after the sorted file is renamed. 
CCA's printout section seems 
unnecessarily difficult to use. 

MMS printouts ai-e even more 
complicated to generate. The 
manual is vague at crucial 
points; nonetheless, if you can 
figure it out, the result is a 
sophisticated printing system 
that will merge data base files 
with ASCII files. 

All three programs are able to 
calculate new fields based on the 
entries in other fields. MMS has 
the most sophisticated calcula- 
tion abilities. In CCA, calcula- 
tions are not visible at the time 
the record is added. In Aids, the 
calculations are done by a 
separate program and are not as 
easily accessible. 

Choosing the right data base 
depends on the application. For 
any involving relatively few 
records. Aids is my preference. 

For larger applications, the 
choice between CCA and MMS is 
more difficult. CCA would bene- 
fit from some modernization. 
But, if the operator is inexperi- 
enced and multiple sorts are 
needed, the ease of running 
printouts and its clear documen- 
tation make it a good choice. 

If handshaking with a word 



29 



SOf=TWARE 



processor is needed for form let- 
ters, if calculations of more com- 
plexity than +, -, *, and / are 
needed or if files are longer than 
one-disk capacity, MMS would 
be the choice. MMS is clearly the 
more sophisticated program 
overall. 

(Meta Technologies, 26111 
Brush Ave., Euclid, OH 44132: 
Aids in $79.95, Calcs IV $39.95. 
For an Indepth look at Aids III, 
see the April 1983 issue of 80 
Micro. The CCA Data Manager 
has been replaced by VisiFile. 
Personal Software of Sunnyvale. 
CA, is now named VisiCorp. 
Maxi Micro Manager, now 
named Maxi Manager, is avail- 
able from The Business Divi- 
sion: Adventure International, 
P.O. Box 3435, Long wood, FL 
32750: $149.) 

Wynne Keller 
August 1981 



■^ -^ ^ 

The Business Mail System 
The Bottom Shelf 
Model I 



■^ '^ -^ 
Mail/File List 
Galactic Software 
Model I, II, or III 



* * * 

Name and Address System 

Small Business Systems 

Group 

Model I 

The Business Mail System by 
The Bottom Shelf (TBS) is not 
the easiest of these programs to 
use. The instructions say the 
program will handle a mailing 



list of 150,000; this may be true, 
but you can put only 500 on a 
single disk. 

The program comes with two 
disks— a security disk and a pro- 
gram disk. The security disk 
protects the TBS software from 
unauthorized copying, Eiefore us- 
ing the program, you must 
transfer TRSDOS 2.2 to the pro- 
gram disk. 

You can enter up to 100 
names and addresses before sav- 
ing them, and when the first 
disk is full, the program tells you 
to insert the next one. 

After you've entered your list, 
you can print mailing labels. 
The flexible TBS printing 
routine is the best part of the 
program. You can print up to 
four labels across the page and 
you have numerous options for 
selecting the names and ad- 
dresses to be printed. The pro- 
gram has three four-digit fields 
and a three-character alphabet- 
ical field that you can specify. 
This could give you over 100 
billion selection codes for your 
printout! 

You can add more names to 
an existing list by using option 1 
on the menu. The program ex- 
pands your list and inserts the 
additions to the proper data disk. 

If you have a large list, the pro- 
gram tells you which disk to 
write the additions to; you might 
have to use several disks. The 
program has the usual routines 
to correct an entry or delete an 
inactive one. 

The Mail/File List by Galactic 
Software Ltd. is the most 
unusual of the mailing-label pro- 
grams. While this program will 
support a maximum of only 600 
names and addresses on a two- 
disk system, it maintains both 
an alphabetic and a zip-code file 



30 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



under constant sort. A list entry 
is automatically placed into 
proper sequence in both files. 

The program has two label- 
printing routines, the standard 
three- or four-line label, and a 
user-designated label. In the 
user-designated label you can 
print any of the nine fields (in 
any order) over three or four 
lines. 

You can print a 30-character 
message as the first line on a 
three-line label, making it. in ef- 
fect, a four-line label. You can 
print labels with messages such 
as "Attn: Store Manager" on the 
first line. In addition to labels, 
the program prints a directory in 
either alphabetical or zip-code 
order. The program also has the 
usual edit routines. 

The Name and Address Sys- 
tem by Small Business Systems 
Group (SBSG) is available in two 
versions. One is a nonnal label 
program, and the other has a 
form-letter routine. The two pro- 
grams are the same except for 
the form-letter routine, so I'll 
review the second one. 

This program is the only one 
of the mailing programs that has 
its own DOS and is ready to run 
when you receive it. SBSG in- 
cluded a sample data file on the 
disk so you can familiarize 
yourself with the program's 
functions before you enter your 
own data. Your data is written to 
the disk as an input file in the 
order you enter it. You must 
create an output file to print 
your labels, which is done by 
sorting your input file. 

When you need to add names, 
you must create a second input 
file and merge it with the first. 
Then, sort the merged files to 
create a new output file. This is 
the major fault of the program, 



since it uses too much disk 
space for the number of records 
in the file. 

The label-printing routine 
prints up to three labels across 
in a five-line format. Two select 
fields (one alphanumeric and 
one alphabetic) allow you to 
print any part of your list. 

The best feature of this pro- 
gram is the Form Letter routine, 
which you use with Electric Pen- 
cil. It lets you type individual let- 
ters to everyone on your mailing 
list. Use special variables for the 
name and address fields; the 
label program changes them to 
the appropriate entries when the 
routine is run. All the other label 
printing options function in this 
mode, so you can send the letter 
to a selected few recipients. 

If you have a large list, the 
TBS Business Mail should be 
your choice. Once you've 
entered your data, the printing 
routine prints over 100 labels 
per minute. 

The Galactic Software Mail 
List offers the advantages of 
both an alphabetical and a zip- 
code file ready to print, but it is 
slow. It prints only about 20 
labels per minute. On the other 
hand, it is the only one that 
prints more tham one copy of a 
label at a time. 

Without its Form Letter 
routine, the SBSG Name and Ad- 
dress System is not the best of 
the three, but that routine is 
worth the price of the program. 
(The Bottom Shelf, P.O. Box 
49104, Atlanta, GA 31359. 
Business Mail System is no long- 
er available. Galactic Software, 
1 1 520 N. Port Washington, 
Mequon, WI 53092; $159 
Models I and III, $1 99 Model IL 
Small Business Systems Group, 
6 Carlisle Road, Westford, MA 

31 



SOFTWARE 



01886; $125 for an updated 
version) 

Reese Fowler 
February 1980 

Calcs in 

(See Page 27) 

CCA Data Manager 
(See Page 27) 

it i^ i^ ^V2 

Data Ace 

Computer Software Design 

Inc. 

Model I, II, or IH 

The Data Ace data-base pro- 
gram is a "relational systems 
language and operating 
system." Understanding rela- 
tional data-base structure is im- 
portant if you want to grasp the 
power that Data Ace offers. 

The secret behind powerful 
data bases seems to be flexibili- 
ty, exactly what Data Ace's rela- 
tional format offers. Unlike the 
popular indexed sequential- 
access memory systems (ISAM), 
your applications are separate 
from the actual data storage. 

Once you know the kinds of 
information you are going to 
store, the rules of relational data- 
base structure dictate how it is 
organized. When you go to use 
the data, programs are written to 
give you the desired results. The 
existing data can be easily 
reorganized to meet the needs of 
a new program. 

Data Ace is a completely in- 
tegrated package. It features its 
own operating system, data- 
management software, a query 
language allowing you to ex- 
amine files directly, a structured 
programming language for 

32 



manipulating data, a full-screen 
editor to write programs, and a 
catalog mode to store help files, 
programs, and procedures. A 
second disk contains a collection 
of utilities for tasks like back-up, 
data recovery, and data-base in- 
itialization. 

Data Ace is self-contained and 
provides no means for backing 
up the system disk; you must 
take care to prevent damage for 
the two copies provided, al- 
though Computer Software De- 
sign offers replacements for $30. 

The power of Data Ace's DIL 
(Data Interrogation Language) is 
substantial and can be taken ad- 
vantage of with a minimum of 
training. If you need to do 
something several times, you 
can store a string of DIL com- 
mands as a procedure using the 
catalog mode. 

The biggest drawback is the 
inability to customize reports 
that often call for complex 
manipulations of numbers, not 
to mention special printing. In 
this respect, the DIL mode of 
Data Ace is inferior when com- 
pared to the overall power of 
many other data-base managers. 

Data Ace is vitalized by its 
unique programming language, 
otherwise known as Data Manip- 
ulation Language (DML). Here 
you have total control. You can 
open up to 12 different relations 
at any one time, shuffling data 
back and forth, inputting data 
when necessary, and printing it 
out just the way you want it. 

DML is a derivative of 
Polyforth (the language in which 
Data Ace is written). If you're 
used to languages like Fortran 
and Basic, you have a lot of 
learning to do. 

Data Ace's catalog mode lets 
you add programs and pro- 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



cedures (made up of DIL com- 
mands), and edit, list, or delete 
programs and procedures 
already on disk. A full-screen 
editor is available to assist you in 
writing and debugging programs 
and procedures. The most recent 
release of Data Ace features 
word-processing capabilities. 

Data Ace has the distinction of 
allowing programs to be run 
with either a compiler or an in- 
terpreter. Source code for the in- 
terpreted programs is stored on 
the data disk and can be quickly 
altered in the catalog mode and 
rerun. 

The power and efficiency of 
Data Ace's Forth-like language is 
evident when you compile a 
routine. The compiled code for 
Data Ace is about 135K (said to 
be 900K of source code), leaving 
room for more than 400K of ap- 
plications software on the 
system disk. 

What about speed? Suffice it 
to say that Data Ace is fast. 
Speed is enhanced by storing an 
index in memory that shows the 
cylinder location for each record. 
It only takes one seek operation 
to locate a record on the disk. Ef- 
ficiency is also increased by the 
use of notional relations, which 
have data that is identical to the 
original relation except that the 
order is different. 

Data Ace is no longer limited 
to the Model II. In the spring of 
1982, Computer Software 
Design released a version for the 
Models I and III. To run the pro- 
gram on these machines, you 
need Miller Microcomputer 
System's Forth. The cost for the 
Model I/III package, including 
MMSForth, is $345. 

The best way to learn about 
Data Ace is through their 
demonstration package. For 



$19.95 you get a one-disk 
system with sample relations 
and full DIL and DML capability. 
There are even 20 pages of 
documentation on the disk to get 
you started. This low price 
makes it easy for you to decide if 
Data Ace will fit your needs. 

My experience with Data Ace 
has convinced me of its tremen- 
dous power and flexibility. It has 
taught me the virtues of rela- 
tional data structure. I have also 
learned that a truly versatile 
data base is probably going to 
take a knowledge of program- 
ming to be mastered. I'm still 
looking for the perfect data 
manager, but for now. Data Ace 
will remain in my collection of 
survivors. 

(Computer Software Design 
Inc., Anaheim, CA 92855; $850 
Model II, $345 Model I/III, 
$1,400 Model 16.) 

Tim Daniel 
October 1982 

•^ ^ -^ Y2 

The Datahandler 

Miller Microcomputer 

Services 

Model I and III 

■^ ^ ^ 

IDM-V 

Micro Architect Inc. 

Model I and III 

*** 

Masi Manager A. 3.1 
Adventure International 
Model I and III 

This review outlines two data- 
base managers. The Datahandler 
and the Interactive Data 
Manager, and gives an update of 
a third, Maxi Manager, which 
was reviewed in August 1981. 



^^ 



SOFTWARE 



Although The Datahandler and 
the Interactive Data Manager 
(IDM-V) are both data-base 
managers, at first glance a com- 
parison between them seems un- 
fair as one is nearly twice the 
price of the other. 

However, because The Data- 
handler is written in Forth, it 
must be run with MMSFORTH. 
Therefore the total package costs 
$190. (If we allot half the cost of 
FORTH to the data-base applica- 
tion, the package would cost 
about $125, which is com- 
parable in price to IDM-V.) 

These two programs use dif- 
ferent data storage approaches. 
The Datahandler is a sequential 
data base, meaning each file's 
size is limited by the computer's 
memory. All records in a file are 
in memory at the end of a ses- 
sion. The capacity of the pro- 
gram in a 48K machine is about 
24K of data, or roughly 300 
records in a typical application. 

The IDM-V program uses 
random-access files. This means 
records are written to disk as 
they are added, and brought 
back from disk on request. Only 
one or two records are normally 
in memory at any given mo- 
ment. The size limit is the 
number of records that fit on the 
disk, not the number that fit in 
memory. 

All three programs deserve 
praise for their documentation, 
which is written clearly and 
should offer few problems to a 
beginner. 

The Datahandler actually has 
two manuals. The program's 
screen displays and command 
set are based on the PIMS data 
base, originally published by 
Scelbi Inc.; hence this manual is 
included. The PIMS manual is 
outstanding for beginners 

34 



because it gives assistance in 
how to organize a data base. The 
Datahandler manual describes 
the changes in some of the com- 
mands, and includes sample 
files. 

The IDM-V manual does not 
explain how to organize a data 
base, but it explains well how 
IDM-V functions in the simplest 
possible terms. A full-page 
troubleshooting guide at the end 
of the manual outlines common 
beginner errors. 

The most obvious change in 
the new version of Maxi Manager 
is the manual. It is now in an at- 
tractively printed 7 by 9 
looseleaf binder. The contents 
have been completely rewritten, 
with greater attention paid to the 
beginner. It is now a professional 
manual, both in appearance and 
content. 

Initialize 

When you initialize a data- 
base program you prepare it for 
its intended application. It is 
here that you establish the 
numeric and string fields and 
lengths needed for your data 
base. Once this is set, you usual- 
ly cannot change it except by 
starting over. 

The initialization section of 
IDM-V is a separate program that 
you call from the disk just for 
this function. Initialization is 
part of the main Datahandler 
program. 

Initializing The Datahandler is 
easy because you do not specify 
each field's length in advance. 
Simply state the field name and 
whether it is numeric or string. 
As provided. The Datahandler 
allows up to 10 fields and a 
record length of about 255 bytes. 

IDM-V limits the length of a 
record to 255 bytes, and the 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



number of fields to 40 (20 string, 
20 numeric). The contents of a 
key field must be unique for 
each record. The manual ex- 
plains the drawbacks to access- 
ing the data by key, but not the 
advantages, e.g., namely that it 
is not necessary to know the 
record number to access a 
record. 

With IDM-V, when you have 
defined the fields, you must 
specify the total anticipated 
number of records. This permits 
the program to write all the 
records to disk as blanks and 
zeros; such a procedure ensures 
there will be no lost files later in 
the event of a system crash. 

There are two problems with 
IDM-V's initialization section. 
The first is if you specify too 
large a total, the file will not fit 
on the disk and a disk-full error 
occurs, making it necessary to 
start initialization over. The 
manual explains how to calcu- 
late how large a file will fit on the 
disk, but it is a lot of work; the 
computer should calculate free 
disk space and size of each 
record, and then inform the user 
how many records will fit. 

The second problem is if you 
use key access, you must specify 
a prime number for the total 
number of records. The program 
should calculate the prime 
number nearest to the total 
number of records planned. 

Input and Add 

IDM-V has an easy-to-use add 
function. Dots on the screen 
show the field length. You can 
modify the record before it is 
written to disk if you have made 
a mistake. IDM-V allows a fast 
typing speed. You cannot 
duplicate a field from a previous 
record by pressing a single key 



using the add function. 

The Datahiandler's add func- 
tion does not show the length of 
each field because the field 
length can be any length you 
wish. It is pleasant not having to 
determine field length in ad- 
vance and be limited by what- 
ever you choose. There is one 
drawback. If the total length of 
all fields in one record exceeds 
about 255 bytes. The Data- 
handler generates an error 
message that wipes out any file 
in memory. A stop message is 
needed. In actual practice, how- 
ever, most users will not 
encounter this problem, as 255 
bytes is sufficient for most appli- 
cations and is the record size 
limit in most data-base 
programs. 

Unlike IDM-V, The Data- 
handler's add function lets you 
duplicate the contents of a previ- 
ous record by pressing a single 
key. Maxi Manager also has this 
convenient feature. 

With The Datahandler, press- 
ing a hyphen backs up on field 
at a time to correct errors. Once 
you complete the record, you 
cannot change it; the program 
goes on to the next record. To 
make changes you must use the 
change mode. 

You can enter the change 
(Modify) mode in IDM-V both 
from the menu, by selecting "In- 
quiry," or during the add section 
if you note an error. Before you 
can alter a record you must find 
the record number using the 
search function, unless you are 
using key fields. If this is the 
case, the record number is based 
on the keyfield contents, so just 
typing the key entry finds the 
record. 

It wasn't feasible to test IDM-V 
with a large number of records, 



OO 



SOFTWARE 



but the manufacturer claims it 
can pull any record from the 
disk, using a key file, in 0-3 
seconds, no matter how large 
the file. 

The Modify function scrolls 
through the fields. To change an 
item, retype it, or press enter to 
leave it unchanged. This method 
is simple, and the cursor quickly 
jumps from field to field. 

IDM-V lets you make changes 
during the printing phase. This 
global change is very powerful. 
The results of calculations can 
be written to the disk all at once. 
This feature requires some 
careful planning at the initializa- 
tion stage and great care in ac- 
tual use. Do not use this function 
without complete backup disks. 

The Datahandler has complete 
search capabilities within the 
change mode, hence it is not 
necessary to know the record 
number before asking for 
changes. You can make an iden- 
tical change in more than one 
record by pressing a single key. 
This very nice feature is similar 
to the one-key command to 
repeat a field in the add mode. 
Also, because the number of the 
field to be changed is selected in 
advance, the record will be 
drawn on screen with the cursor 
already in place at the proper 
field. 

Search and Sort 

For The Datahandler, the most 
time-consuming part of the 
search is defining the search re- 
quirements. Once you have 
defined these, the record is 
found almost instantly. The 
search's main limitation is that 
you may search only one field at 
a time. Aside from that. The 
Datahandler covers every con- 
ceivable search need, including a 



masked search, which ignores 
certain parts of a string. 

Both Maxi Manager and The 
Datahandler can find a match in 
any type of search even if the 
search string does not duplicate 
the uppercase/lowercase con- 
figuration of the original entry. 

IDM-V does not support as 
many search functions as The 
Datahandler; consequently, 
there are fewer questions to 
answer before the search begins, 
and the ability to press Enter for 
default search parameters also 
speeds the process. The program 
searches only the first three 
characters on a perfect match, 
greater-than or less-than basis. 

The search function prints 
each record's compared field as 
it scans, so it is possible to see 
where the search goes wrong if it 
doesn't find the record. Search- 
ing is a slow process if you do 
not use a key field. You must ex- 
actly duplicate the original 
record's uppercase/lowercase 
configuration. 

IDM-V has a fast, capable 
machine-language sort of up to 
four fields, but there is a large 
drawback: Once sorted, the 
records are not written to disk. 
The sort is only for a printout. A 
second drawback is that all 
records to be sorted must be in 
memory. While this is true of all 
data bases, Maxi Manager and 
CCA (August 1981) handle it 
automatically whereas IDM-V re- 
quires the user to split the file 
and bring it in a portion at a 
time to be sorted. 

The sort for The Datahandler 
is very fast because it is an in- 
memory system, and because of 
the capabilities of Forth. The 
speed is comparable to Aids 
(August 1981) and any number 
of fields can be sorted— ascend- 



36 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



ing or descending. 

Maxi Manager can sort on 
three fields at a time. The sort is 
in machine code and as fast as 
can be expected for a random- 
access data base. Unlike IDM-V, 
Maxi Manager stores the results 
of the sort on disk. 

Printouts 

Usually, the most important 
purpose of a data base is print- 
ing data in the needed format. 
Since the whole process can be 
very troublesome, it is desirable 
to be able to save print com- 
mands onto the disk. IDM-V haS 
this capability with room to store 
10 different printer command 
files. The Datahandler cannot 
store print commands. 

IDM-V provides less control 
over the printout format than 
The Datahandler; however, it is 
fairly simple to format a printout 
that would be adequate for 
many uses. IDM-V always prints 
record numbers whether you 
want them or not. Worse still, 
the column for record numbers 
wastes 10 spaces of the total 
printout. 

You cannot align numeric 
fields to the right and left of the 
decimal point with IDM-V. It 
prints the name given to the file 
that stores the print commands 
as the title, so be sure to use a 
meaningful file name. If the 
length of the printer line is ex- 
ceeded, the excess wraps 
around. Unfortunately, there is 
no control over the alignment of 
the second line of data or the 
number of blanks between 
fields. You cannot abort printout 
except with the Break key. 

You can access the IDM-V data 
base with Micro Architect's word 
processor, WORD-V, for use with 
form letters. The Lister com- 



mand provides a quick and easy 
printout. 

The IDM-V report section 
search is much more sophisti- 
cated than the search in the 
main program. You can search 
up to four fields with a choice of 
logical AND or OR. 

Like IDM-V, The Datahandler 
report formatting section is fairly 
easy to use. The features 
available, though, are quite dif- 
ferent. You can choose whether 
or not to print record numbers. 
There is no wraparound, so it is 
possible to control the ap- 
pearance of the second data line. 
Unfortunately, no math is 
available for a printout, but full 
search functions are provided. 

The Datahandler has a quick, 
easy printout via the "standard" 
mode of the Report command. If 
you desire a customized format, 
you can specify which fields are 
to be printed, and full search 
functions are available for select- 
ing records. You can change file 
parameters if desired. Very few 
commands provide a surprising- 
ly flexible number of printout 
choices; you can manipulate the 
maximum field length, the 
spaces between fields, and the 
size of the line to obtain the 
desired result. The program also 
remembers your last requested 
printer layout. 

You can also obtain con- 
tinuous printer interaction with 
the program so everything you 
type goes to the printer. Unfor- 
tunately, this function causes 
the line printer to form feed 
whenever the screen is cleared. 
This severely limits the option's 
usefulness. 

The Datahandler has an inven- 
tive mailing list printout option 
that examines the name field. If 
it sees a comma, it assumes the 



37 



SOFTWARE 



last name is first and it reverses 
it for the printout, eliminating 
the comma and printing one 
space between last and first 
names. This space insertion 
means none is needed when you 
enter the name, thereby saving 
one byte per name. 

The newest version of Maxi 
Manager includes a utility pro- 
gram to create printer command 
files. You don't have to learn all 
the print-format commands, as 
the utility program creates a file 
of the proper commands based 
on your answers to various 
questions. 

At first, you could not use 
Scripsit with the Model III ver^ 
sion of Maxi Manager, since 
Scripsit is on a TRSDOS disk 
and Maxi for the Model III is sup- 
plied on DOSPLUS. Fortunately, 
a patch is now available from 
Adventure International to over- 
come this problem. The patch 
will be included on all future 
Maxi Manager disks. 

Calculate 

Perhaps The Datahandler's 
greatest flaw is the lack of many 
math functions. Addition is the 
only feature, and it is not 
available on printouts. The addi- 
tion can be performed within a 
record as well as between 
records, and like all Forth com- 
mands is quite rapid. IDM-V, on 
the other hand, has standard ad- 
dition, subtraction, multiplica- 
tion, and division functions that 
are also available on Maxi 
Manager. IDM-V math is only 
available with a printout, but 
Maxi Manager provides 
mathematical functions on 
screen as well as in printouts. 

Special Features 
The Datahandler's special 

38 



features stem from the fact that 
it is written in Forth rather than 
Basic. Actually, The Datahandler 
is not a program so much as a 
new set of Forth words, defined 
to perform various functions. As 
such, a Forth programmer can 
easily modify it to include any 
new functions that might be 
needed. 

When using The Datahandler, 
you are in the command mode 
much of the time, rather than in 
the program. To make a choice, 
type a command such as Add, 
Change, or List. There is no 
menu, but the word Help lists all 
the commands the program 
understands. A directory is 
always available because of be- 
ing in Command mode, and it is 
possible to stop using The 
Datahandler temporarily, if 
desired, to ask Forth to do a few 
calculations and then go right 
back into the program. 

IDM-V has made every effort to 
speed interaction between pro- 
gram and user by the liberal use 
of default values for any choice. 
In formatting a printout, for ex- 
ample, pressing enter quickly 
bypasses the mathematics ques- 
tions. For every question in any 
section, pressing enter 
automatically selects the most 
commonly used choices. It is a 
great feature for beginners who 
aren't sure how to answer many 
questions. 

IDM-V is advertised as bug free 
and reliable. It has been released 
for the Model I, II, and III, CP/M, 
and Heath computers. While I 
haven't used it long enough to 
categorically state that it has no 
errors, it does appear to be a 
solid, dependable program. 
Many precautions have been 
taken to protect files from ac- 
cidental erasure or damage, 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



A new feature in Maxi 
Manager is a utility program that 
lets it read Aids III files. An Aids 
user who has outgrown that in- 
mernoiy system can convert to 
Maxi's random access without 
retyping his files. 

Conclusion 

There is no best program. You 
must choose the one best suited 
to a particular application. Maxi 
Manager is tops for sophistica- 
tion and file capacity, but it is 
the most complicated to use. 
IDM-V has powerful global 
change and delete, fast sort, and 
good search with printouts. Its 
greatest flaws are the lack of full 
control of printout appearance, 
the need to break files up for 
sorting, and the inability to save 
records in sorted order. IDM-V is 
easy to use, but is expensive. 

Some programs are better 
than others for the single-drive 
owner. On a double-density 
drive, any of the programs 
would be adequate since the pro- 
gram and data could all be on 
one disk. On a single-density 
drive, there is often insufficient 
room for both program and data. 
Having a separate data disk 
allows for a larger file, but then 
the program and data disks 
must be switched. Maxi Manager 
requires this switching 
whenever sorting or printouts 
are desired, but does prompt for 
the switch. IDM-V also does not 
prompt for the switch, but re- 
quires fewer switches than Maxi 
Manager. 

For an in-memory system. The 
Datahandler is pleasant to use 
because of its great speed in call- 
ing files in and out and for add- 
ing and changing records (faster 
typing is allowed, and the cursor 



is at the correct field 
automatically for changes). 

Despite the fact that The Data- 
handler is extremely weak in 
some important areas, I am fas- 
cinated by it. After a few years at 
a computer keyboard, one 
begins to feel half a life has been 
spent waiting for the computer 
to load and save files. Forth and 
The Datahandler end all that. I 
recommend the program for 
anyone willing to take the time 
to learn Forth or willing to pay to 
have The Datahandler custom- 
ized as the program can be 
modified to do most of the things 
a good data base needs to do. 
(The Datahandler, Miller 
Microcomputer Services, 61 
Lake Shore Road, Natick, MA 
01 760; $59.95. IDM-V, Micro Ar- 
chitect, Inc., 96Dothan St., Arl- 
ington, MA 021 74; $129. Maxi 
Manager, version A. 3.1., 
Adventure International, P.O. 
Box 3435, Longwood, FL 32750; 
$149.99.) 

Wynne Keller 
June/July 1982 



Date-O-Base Calendar 
Custom Software Engineering 
Color Computer 

Date-O-Base is an inexpensive 
program that turns the Color 
Computer into an electronic 
datebook able to search and 
display short memos previously 
stored for a particular date. It 
also includes a calendar-page 
display mode that takes advan- 
tage of the Color Computer's 
high-resolution graphics 
capabilities. 

A disk can hold more than 
4,000 one-line memos of up to 
28 characters each. There are 



39 



SOFTWARE 



restrictions, though: no more 
than 12 memos for any single 
day, no more than 300 for any 
month. This should be more 
than adequate for any household 
or small office. The program 
even allows multiple lines for 
complicated messages. 

When Date-O-Base is njn, a 
master menu containing six op- 
tions presents itself. This is 
home base; you can get back to 
it by hitting enter once or twice, 
The options available to you in- 
clude: Normal exit from DOB; 
Display Month, which prompts 
the month and year and then 
draws the appropriate calendar 
page; Display/Change Memos, 
which permits you to specify a 
date and jump right to the text 
screen; Search Memos, which 
display or print memos falling 
within a specified period of time; 
Delete Memos, a global delete 
function; and Data Computation, 
which computes the elapsed 
time between two specified 
dates. 

Date-O-Base fills a genuine 
need at a reasonable price. If you 
can live with the short memos 
imposed by the program, it can 




do a good Job for you, 
(Custom Software Engineering. 
807 Minutemen Causeway. 
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931: $19.95 
disk. $16.95 cassette.) 

Scott L. Norman 
December 1982 



•^ ^ ^ ^ 
dBASE II 
Ashton-Tate 
Model II 

dBASE II, written under CP/M 
to reach the widest possible 
market, is a sophisticated data- 
base manager. 

It provides two entirely 
separate modes of operation. An 
interactive mode, similar to 
other database managers, allows 
data manipulation in discrete 
steps under end-user control. 

It is the command mode, 
however, that makes dBASE II 
unique. Like a high-level 
language, it allows complex se- 
quence functions to be pro- 
grammed in a Pascal-like struc- 
tured language. 

Many complex routines, that 
would require numerous Basic 
statements to accomplish, can 
be called using dBASE II with a 
single command: Create creates 
an entire file structure; Sort 
sorts a file; Total sums portions 
of a file; and so on. Through the 
use of a wide range of qualifiers 
to the commands, diverse and 
very sophisticated programs can 
be written. 

The two modes of operation 
function in a relational manage- 
ment environment, meaning 
data elements are represented 
internally in a two-dimensioned 
table. Without the internal com- 
plexity of the usual DBM hierar- 
chical management environment 



40 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



(where linked lists and pointers 
maintain data relationships), in- 
dexing speed and efficiency are 
not affected by file length. 

Impressively quick operations 
are a result of the relational 
system used in the program. An 
indexed record can be located in 
a 100 or 65,000-record file in the 
same time— two seconds. Each 
file can handle up to 65,535 
records of 1 ,000 characters each 
in 32 fields. The only limit to the 
number of files contained within 
the system is imposed by the 
available storage capacity. 

Non-dBASE II programs and 
files can be used directly under 
the command mode control, 
allowing the incorporation of the 
dBASE power within existing 
routines and data files. 

Included in the newly released 
updated version is a respectable 
text editor (sorely lacking in the 
previous version) and several 
file-handling enhancements in- 
cluding a fascinating "window- 
like" Browse command. 

Problems? The system suffers 
from inadequate documentation 
of its abilities only partially 
satisfied by the newly updated 
manual. Be ready to spend 
hours learning the system's hid- 
den abilities by trial and error. 

I was also disappointed in the 
interactive mode report writer. 
To generate truly customized 
report formats, plan on writing 
the formats yourself using the 
command mode. 

One more sore point— a file 
cannot be split between drives. 

Overall, this is a very power- 
ful, fast, and sophisticated data- 
base manager. I found the effi- 
ciency of file organization, speed 
of execution, and the command 
mode of operation most im- 
pressive. In the most rigorous 



and complex string manipula- 
tion operations, where I have 
found most serious DBM prob- 
lems, data integrity was never 
compromised under dBASE II. 
dBASE II will let the novice 
create useful database applica- 
tions almost immediately. The 
competent user can expect, with 
trial and error, to master the 
command mode functions. This 
system is capable of fulfilling 
almost any database require- 
ment conceivable in the micro 
environment. 

(Ashton-Tate, 10150 W. Jeffer- 
son Blvd., Culver City, CA 
90230; Model II $700.) 

Craig Hilton 
June/ July 1982 



Pisk Mailing List 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

After installing Radio Shack's 
disk mailing list program, I 
found many errors. The prob- 
lems are not only in the 
cosmetics of the program, but go 
deeper into its basic organ- 
ization. 

The program menu displays 
five options, each a module: add 
names, edit the list, list names to 
the screen, print mailing labels, 
and recover space. The space 
recovery is a utility module run 
irregularly. Records that are 
deleted in the editing module are 
only flagged and the physical 
deletion does not take place until 
recovery is run. After either add- 
ing records or recovering space, 
a sort module is run producing 
an index of the records in their 
correct alphabetical order. 

The edit module lets you 



41 



SOFTWARE 



search through the list of names 
and addresses one by one; the 
records are examined in order 
and you can change the record 
in several ways. However, the 
records are always rewritten to 
disk, whether or not you have 
changed any information. Since 
the reliability of mini-floppy 
disks is in question, rewriting 
good records seems to be asking 
for trouble. 

The recover-space module has 
a similar problem .The disk is 
overwritten in the same order in 
which the good records reside 
with the flagged deletions 
deleted. Rewriting all records 
beyond the first deletion not only 
requires confidence in the disks, 
but it also takes longer. 

The most serious problem is in 
the sort routine and its use. Con- 
sider sorting a mailing-list file. 
You can't assume that the 
records are already sorted. Some 
segments might be sorted, but 
the file itself won't be. 

The second consideration is 
the volatility of the file. How long 
can you expect the index file to 
be reasonably accurate? Should 
you re-sort the records from 
scratch each time, or merely up- 
date the existing index? 

The Radio Shack program 
uses an insertion sort to order 
the records. An insertion sort 
has a 0(N to the power of 2) 
worst-case running time. This is 
the same as a bubble-sort and 
essentially the worst possible 
time of any of the standard sort 
methods. 

Only if the file is largely sorted 
and few additions are made is 
the insertion sort effective. The 
current sort index is ignored in 
resorting, so that the heavy in- 
itial cost is paid each time the 
file is sorted. 



The sort routine not only has 
the potential for making 0(N to 
the power of 2) comparisons, but 
0(N to the power of 2) disk ac- 
cesses. All comparisons are 
made between one record cur- 
rently in memory and one record 
brought in off disk. 

Performance is poor. I put 210 
records in the file, and sorting 
took nearly an hour. The disk 
holds about 990 records, but I 
shudder to think how long it 
would take to sort them all. 

The add-names module does 
not refuse new records when a 
fixed number has been entered 
but when the disk-full error 
message is trapped by the pro- 
gram. This does not guarantee 
that there will be space for the 
index file. If you add several 
records when the disk-full error 
is trapped, the index file requires 
more sectors than it currently 
does and the extra space simply 
won't exist. 

(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $19.95.) 

Duncan Buell 
February 1980 

■^ "^ "^ 

File Management System 

Exatron Corp. 

Model I 

If you have a cassette-based 
TRS-80, you know how slowly 
any data-base program saves 
and loads records on cassette. A 
floppy disk solves this problem, 
but you need an expansion inter- 
face, more memory, and at least 
one disk drive— about $900. The 
Exatron Stringy Floppy (ESF) 
costs $250 and saves and loads 
programs at 7200 baud, 14 
times faster than a cassette. A 
special inputyoutput program al- 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



lows you to read and write data 
to the ESF tape wafer at speeds 
that make data base manage- 
ment programs practical. 

The FMS (File Management 
System) is a Basic data-base pro- 
gram that offers far more flexibil- 
ity than any cassette data base 
I've seen. It allows you to use up 
to nine fields for each record: 
each field can be either string, 
integer, or single-precision, with 
prompting labels for each. 
Records can be added, changed, 
or deleted. A sorting subroutine 
lets you sort the entire record 
alphanumerically on any field. 

You can find selected records 
in the file equal to, less than, or 
equal to or greater than any one 
of the fields. You can right 
justify numeric fields (single 
precision can have dollar signs 
and two decimal places, or zero 
to seven decimal places) and 
total fields for all or part of the 
file. A map function lets you 
establish the display format, 
even hiding selected fields from 
the display or printer. You can 
even leave the program to Basic 
and return without losing the file 
data (unless you edit the pro- 
gram itself). 

Records are entered from the 
keyboard, then saved on an ESF 
wafer. Entering the file from a 
previously made wafer is very 
fast compared to cassette load; I 
was able to load a file of 45 
names, addresses, and zip codes 
at almost three records per 
second. 

The 30-page FMS manual is 
very well written and specific. 
Like any data-base program, it 
takes some reading and prac- 
tice—but then it's a breeze! The 
program is menu driven and 
easy to use .The break or enter 
keys almost always return to the 



menu if you get confused, and I 
found the program virtually 
crashproof. 

I found only one negative 
aspect about this program, and 
that's more a result of memory 
limitation than the program 
itself. FMS, despite multiline 
statements, performs so many 
functions it takes lOK of pro- 
gramming including a required 
data I/O program. This doesn't 
leave much room in memory for 
string space and arrays used for 
records. In my I6K machine, the 
name-and-address program 
would hold only 50 records. 

The FMS is an outstanding 
data-base program. The prompt- 
ing and error trapping routines 
are extensive and user-oriented. 
It's easy to learn to use, and the 
flexibility and versatility are 
limited primarily by your imagi- 
nation. I consider it an out- 
standing buy. 

(Exatron Corp., Sunnyvale, CA 
94086. FMS is now available in 
two versions; $19.95 and $80.) 
Fred Blechman 
March 1981 



•^ -^ ^ V2 
IDM-I¥ 

"^ "^ ■^ "pf 

Word-IV 

Micro Architect Inc. 

Model I 

Word-IV is a disk-based, Basic 
word processor. Text and format 
control information are entered 
exactly like a Disk-Basic 
program. 

Features of the system are: 
page length, page width, begin- 
ning point of page, automatic 
page numbering, page centering. 



43 



SOFTWARE 



left and right justification, line 
spacing, title generation for each 
page, special character genera- 
tion, and space reservation on 
succeeding pages. 

Word-IV fully supports the 
upper- and lowercase capabilities 
of your printer. To produce an 
uppercase letter, you must press 
the up arrow preceding the let- 
ter. The text and format files are 
stored as a separate file on the 
disk using an ASCII extension. 
The length of the text is limited 
only by memory and the disk 
storage capacity. Editing is very 
easy using the Edit command 
from DOS Basic. A unique 
feature of this program is the 
ability to nin more than one of 
the same program or a combina- 
tion of a couple of programs. 

There are several problems 
with Word-IV. Basic is very slow 
and you cannot load a text pro- 
gram saved in ASCII back into 
DOS Basic for further editing. 
This means that if you anticipate 
further editing you must save 
the text program also in Basic. 
The program also has difficulties 
generating a question-mark 
symbol. These problems are 
minor and correctable. 

IDM-IV is a disk-based, Basic 
data-base manager. It consists of 
three separate programs: In- 
itialization, Data Base Manager, 
and Report. 

Initialization requires that you 
name the string and numeric 
fields (up to 10 numeric and 10 
string), determine the number 
and size of the fields, choose the 
key field, specify the number of 
records, and name the file. This 
information is then formatted 
to disk. 

String fields can contain up to 
255 bytes, while numeric fields 
are limited to four characters. 



The total record is limited to 255 
bytes. Record totals are limited 
only by your disk storage and 
memory capacity. 

The Data-Base Manager pro- 
gram is next loaded into Disk 
Basic. By using the Add facility, 
you now enter information. Once 
data entry has been completed, 
the report writer segment of the 
Data Base Manager program is 
run. Up to 10 different reports 
are possible. 

Report is the last program to 
be entered into the computer. It 
has two options: data-base 
listing, which prints the entire 
data base in file-card format, and 
format report, which lets you 
select one of the reports that you 
created with the report writer. 

IDM-IV has two problems in 
common with Word-IV: too 
much disk I/O, and the 
characteristic slowness of Basic. 
In spite of these two problems, it 
is a fantastic word processor. 
(Revised versions of Word-IV 
and IDM-IV are available from 
the Micro Architect Inc., 96 
Dothan St., Arlington, MA 
021 74; $49 and $69 respec- 
tively.) 

Don DeJarnette 
November 1980 

IDM-V 
(See Page 33) 

■^ '^ 

Information Storage and 
Retrieval (ISAR) 
The Alternate Source 
Model I 

The basic ISAR program is 
made up of 10 modules for the 
Model I that consist of the fol- 
lowing: a driver or menu 
module, create a file, add 






DATA BASE MANAGERS 



records, change or delete 
records, sort, screen scan or 
search, and format hardcopy 
reports. 

ISAR does have some prob- 
lems. It can't add, delete, or 
modify entries during the same 
pass through a file. ISAR's sort is 
frustrating because it won't do a 
multiple field sort, and its print- 
out formats entries but not 
pages. It has yet another short- 
coming—it has an in-memory 
sort. A file with many records 
will overwhelm memory if the 
field being sorted is longer than 
18 characters. Although the sort 
is fast, a slower disk sort would 
be more flexible. 

For the occasional user who 
won't do a lot of file manipu- 
lation, ISAR will be very useful, 
at a good price and, to be fair, 
ISAR is not advertised as a solu- 
tion to business or bibliographic 
problems. It was "originally 
designed to provide personal 
users with a low cost data 
management system." As 
critical as I am, it has proven 
valuable, but for large and 
potentially complicated files, 
ISAR is too difficult. In this case, 
my advice would be: Spend 
more money for a more flexible 
program. 

(The Alternate Source, 704 N. 
Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing, MI 
48906; version 2.0 is now 
available for the Model I and III 
for $39.95.) 

Robert L. Zeppa 
December 1980 



^ ^ -^ V2 

ISAM 

Johnson Associates 

Model I or II 

ISAM (Index Sequential Access 



Method) is a set of Basic 
subroutines and utilities that 
allows the programmer to create 
and maintain direct-access files 
using keys, rather than the 
hardware-dependent numbers 
used by Radio Shack. ISAM re- 
quires 32K; the routines that 
must be merged into the applica- 
tion require about 4.5K. There 
are also minor restrictions on 
variable names used by ISAM 
and the line numbers used by 
the routines. In return for these 
restrictions, ISAM pays off with 
greatly increased disk space effi- 
ciency. 

Johnson has included a 
demonstration program— a mail- 
ing list system that is more than 
adequate for my personal use 
and, I suspect, for some small 
businesses. ISAM does 
everything it promises very well. 
(ISAM is sold by Johnson 
Associates, Redding, CA, $50.) 
William L. Colsher 
September 1980 



Mail/File List 
(See Page 30) 



■^ ^ ^ •Y2 
Maillist 
BAR Sales 
Model I 

According to Richard Alva of 
DAR Sales, with Maillist software 
and his business tutelage, you 
will be able to establish and 
maintain mailing lists for local 
businesses and organizations. 
The result: instant money for 
you and your computer. Sound 
too good to be true? Maybe it is, 
since the success is in the sell- 



™v\bI 



SOFTWARE 



ing, and Alva leaves that to you. 

The Maillist package comes 
with software, documentation, 
and 100 promotional letters. 
Alva's intention is that these will 
be used to drum up interest in 
the service. He even includes an 
instruction manual and suggest' 
ed price list detailing how to set 
up your business. 

You say you haven't got a 
printer? Well, don't worry. Alva 
has thought of that too. Just 
copy your data tapes or disks 
and send them to DAR. For a 
nominal fee (3 cents per label), 
Alva will do the printing for you. 
DAR will also handle sorting, 
again for a nominal fee. 

The program cassette supplied 
has two program dumps. The 
first is a 32K disk-based Maillist; 
the second is a I6K tape-based 
version. The disk version re- 
quires only one drive; most of 
the additional memory required 
is taken up by DOS instructions. 

The program creates three 
files on a disk. Each file is 
capable of holding up to 125 
names and addresses, and en* 
tries are coded to the disks. Each 
disk can hold 375 entries. The 
manual provides detaiiled in- 
structions for opening, changing, 
and deleting file entries; they 
seem clear enough for the most 
novice of operators. 

If you think you have a knack 
for selling and want to get a 
sideline going, the Maillist 
package can give you a start. It 
comes with a 30-day money- 
back guarantee, and a promise 
from Richard Alva that you will 
earn at least $10 an hour for 
your trouble. If he can sell you, 
maybe you can sell others. 
(DAR Sales, Sacramento, CA 
9581 2; 1 6K cassette or 32K 
disk, originally $39.95. This 



company could not be reached 
for updated information.) 

Chris Brown 
October 1980 



Max! Manager A.3.1 
(See Page 33) 

Max! Mcro Manager 
(See Page 27) 

Name and Address System 
{See Page 30) 

■^ ^ -^ 
Newtrieve 
Unique Printing and 
Stationery Co. Inc. 
Model I or in 

Newtrieve is advertised as "the 
programmer's program." It is an 
in-memory, recursive, 
sequential-search program of an 
array of 5(X) by 40 characters. It 
is meant to be used by program- 
mers in data-base-management 
systems for in-memory data 
stnictures. It performs very fast 
sequential searches of your data 
by key words. In fact, a 
25,000-character array of data 
can be sequentially read in 
about one second. 

The program disk contains a 
demonstration program called 
NT/DEM, a machine-language 
driver (which is the main part of 
the package), and two empty 
data bases of 500 entries of 40 
characters each. A routine called 
ENHAN/BAS is provided and can 
be merged with NT/DEM to give 
additional commands. 

The manual provides enough 
information to operate the pro- 
gram. Some examples for using 
the program NT/DEM are given. 
Since this program is directed to 
programmers, it is interesting 
that only a single license is pur- 



46 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



chased. It appears, therefore, 
that Newtrieve is meant only for 
in-house applications, and not 
for programmers to develop 
marketable products. 

Newtrieve is composed of two 
parts: an index and a Basic pro- 
gram that references the index 
via USR calls. The index must 
all reside in memory at once, 
and it allows 500 records with 
entries up to 40 characters. The 
Basic program is easy to use and 
reasonably powerful. It is also 
well-documented, so you can 
develop your own application 
programs. 

You also get a merge module 
with Newtrieve that provides two 
additional commands. The first 
command is used if a search 
does not find an entry, and pro- 
vides you with the opportunity 
to enter it into the data base. 
The second command lets you 
include data into the search 
string to execute a more specific 
search. 

Limitations include the lack of 
a sort for printout, and the lack 
of specific information on inter- 
facing the indexes witfi preex- 
isting data bases, for both input 
and output. It would also be nice 
to have a program to generate 
the custom data bases along 
with Newtrieve, rather than be 
stuck with the 500 records, 40 
characters long, or one of the op- 
tional ones that you can buy 
from Unique. 

The searches are fast and 
allow simple Boolean logical 
operators (AND and NOT) to be 
used. The program is easy to use 
and well-documented. I don't 
recommend it for a general- 
purpose data-base referencing 
system for nonprogrammers, 
but a programmer should be 
able to use Newtrieve to his ad- 



vantage in designing a data-base 
referencing system. 
(Unique Printing and Stationery 
Co., Inc., 1 1 Maiden Lane, New 
York, NY 10038; $49.95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
October 1982 

Prof ae II 

"^ '^ '^ "^ 
Profile Plias 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model II disk 

A data base manager (DBM) is 
a program that allows the user 
to easily manipulate a collection 
of data. We tell the DBM what 
type of data we want 
manipulated and in what form, 
and the DBM tells the computer 
how to go about doing it. 

The ability to develop ideas in- 
to usable programs depends on 
the sophistication of the DBM 
and the user. The simplest DBM 
may function as a cross- 
reference; more advanced ones 
can integrate a filing operation 
with mathematical functions, 
word processing, and sub- 
program integration. 

Profile II works more as a 
reliable filing cabinet with cross- 
references. It has limited 
mathematical capabilities (addi- 
tion and subtraction); fields can- 
not be altered once created, and 
one file cannot access another. 
You cannot chain together parts 
of a block to create one record. 
There are no high-speed index 
capabilities, non-DBM programs 
cannot be run in conjunction 
with DBM programs, and the 
system will not support single- 
sheet feed for word processor 
printers. The first-time user 
should purchase the auxiliary 



(tf / 



SOFTWARE 



manual with cassette tape in- 
structions along with the pro- 
gram. Serious first-time users 
should consider the extra $220 
for the Profile Plus additions. 

Profile Plus adds some of the 
features needed to move Profile 
11 into the true DBM class. It can 
do the things mentioned above • 
that Profile II can't, has 15 data 
field types to IFs six, and sup- 
ports 2,400 records of 500 
characters each versus II's 
1,800. The system is well priced; 
Profile Plus may be the least ex- 
pensive DBM in its class. The 
system works quickly. With bet- 
ter documentation, a layered 
sort capability, subtotal options, 
and tie-in capabilities to non- 
DBM file data, it could be a first- 
class system. 

(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX; Profile 11 sells for 
$1 79 and Profile Plus sells for 
$299.) 

Craig Hilton 
April 1982 



Profile III + 

The small Computer 

Company 

Tandy/Radio Shack 

Model III 

Profile III + data base comes 
on two disks: the creation disk, 
which initializes the data base, 
and a run-time disk. If the crea- 
tion disk is damaged it can 
usually be restored from a back- 
up, but the back-up disk itself is 
unusable. Run-time disks are 
not protected. 

The maximum number of 
characters per record is 1,020; 
up to 255 of these can be in the 
key segment. The key segment 



includes all the fields for sorting 
or searching. All other fields go 
to different segments. Total 
capacity depends on the number 
of drives available. 

Segments must be carefully 
allotted to the various drives to 
fill them uniformly. If any one 
drive fills, the empty space in 
the rest becomes unusable. Total 
four-drive capacity with 
255-character records is 2,000. 
For some applications, this 
might not be enough. 

Unfortunately, the program is 
only compatible with TRSDOS, 
and cannot be used on hard-disk 
drives. 

Sort is in memory, and the 
capacity depends on the length 
of the field chosen. If the records 
don't fit, select a portion to sort 
at one time. Although this is an- 
noying, what the sort lacks in 
capacity it gains in speed. 

Profile III + allows math for- 
mulas using add, subtract, 
multiply, or divide. Up to 16 for- 
mulas can be written, using up 
to 20 fields per formula. Used 
properly, formula fields are very 
powerful. 

The manual assumes the 
reader is a business user who is 
approaching data-base software 
for the first time. Worksheets are 
provided to help the user deter- 
mine what fields are needed, and 
includes typical field lengths. 
The manual, although explicit in 
some areas, is vague in others. It 
includes a helpful glossary. 

The most striking features of 
the program are speed and flex- 
ibility. Program sections load 
rapidly, and all programs are in 
machine code. You can design as 
many as five different screens for 
adding and viewing records. 

Add, update, and search are 
all available from the same 



48 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



master program, so there's no 
delay. The program appears 
forgiving of user errors. The 
break key doesn't cause lost 
records. 

A potentially serious flaw in 
the program is the search on 
numeric fields. Numeric entries 
are right justified after they are 
typed. If the field is 10 char- 
acters long and you type five, 
the five characters move over 
when you press enter. If the 
search data is only five digits, 
the record is not found. Type 
five blank spaces ahead of the 
number for a match to occur. 

Designing report formats is 
easier with Profile III + than any 
other data base I've tested. The 
program allows you to visualize 
the report on the screen. A grid 
across the top marks print posi- 
tions up to 132 characters. One 
part of the screen is for column 
headings, and the part directly 
below is for the field number to 
go with the heading. Up to five 
different report formats are 
allowed per file. 

Profile III + has features 
designed to simplify use or in- 
crease flexibility, including con- 
nections to SuperScripsit and 
VisiCalc. You can also customize 
menus. Mass operations are very- 
powerful; they include mass 
recalculate, delete, printout, 
and purge. 

This program has more fea- 
tures than the best I have previ- 
ously reviewed, and also offers 
greater speed and less aggrava- 
tion. The convenience, of course, 
has a higher price tag, but con- 
venience is not all you're buying. 
There are some new features not 
previously available in Model I or 
III data-base software. 
(The small Computer Company, 
230 West 41st St., Suite 1203, 



New York, NY 10036; $300. 

Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 

Worth, TX 76102; cat 

#26-1592, $199.) 

Wynne Keller 
October 1982 



"^ "W w 

Radex-10 
IJG 
Model I 

Radex-10 (Random Access 
Data Executive) creates and 
maintains random access fUes 
easily and can generate reports 
with parameters that you create. 
Thirty-one searches are made per 
report, with each variable and its 
relationship to the others infinite- 
ly selectable. 

Any number of fields can be 
output to the report and printed 
in any order. Fields can be used 
more than once, and formatted 
either vertically or horizontally. 
Mailing labels are automatically 
printed using the first five fields. 

The six control programs are 
stored in Basic in Drive zero, 
along with your DOS. All files are 
stored in Drive 1, requiring only a 
formatted disk with no tracks 
locked out. When this disk fills 
up, you are prompted to insert 
another and continue. This disk- 
spanning method enables up to 
10, 199 records of 155 bytes each 
to be stored and accessed. 

To begin, the package asks you 
to choose a function from its 
menu: 1) create data base, 2) file 
maintenance, 3) create reports, 4) 
run reports, 5) print file 
parameters, or 6) end program. 
When you create a report, it stays 
on file for future use. All you 
need do when using it is provide 
a new set of parameters to suit 
your current needs. 



49 



SOFTWARE 



Radex-lO's documentation is 
simple, well written, and very 
easy to understand. It includes 
six pages of definitions, which I 
found more enlightening than 
Radio Shack's TRSDOS manual. 
There is also a section on file 
structure and data bases in 
general, and even a list of sug- 
gested reading. The manual is a 
real treat for those who are not 
too technically minded. 

Similarly, the program instruc- 
tions mercifully avoid the use of 
abbreviations. Sometimes it even 
tells you why it is doing a par- 
ticular thing, which is quite a 
departure from the "push the X 
button now" syndrome. 
(IJG, 1953 W. nth St., Upland, 
CA 91 786. The original version 
ofRadex-lOsoldfor $99; it is no 
longer available. A revised ver- 
sion of the book and software is 
available.) 

Dave Orozco 
July 1980 

* "A- * V2 
Scrinput 
ACR Consultants 
Model I and III 

Imagine being able to sit down 
at your computer and enter data 
by simply filling in the blanks. 
Imagine that once filled in, you 
could edit that data until it was 
perfect. What if you could also 
define the field lengths, specify 
what type of data each field ac- 
cepts, and could control a high- 
speed, nondestructive cursor 
during data entry? With data in- 
put like that you could let 
anyone fill in data and get 
perfect results every time. Scrin- 
put does all that and more. 

Other programs may use a 
similar input routine but they do 



not measure up. On many, you 
can out-type the cursor; others' 
fields are inaccessible for altera- 
tion once completed, or tied to a 
sort routine that makes editing 
slow. With the Scrinput utility, 
you can set up your CRT Just 
like a data input form, store for- 
matted data directly on the 
screen, and then write the entire 
screen onto disk or tape, send it 
to a printer, and manipulate or 
use it in calculations. 

Although Scrinput is written 
in Assembly language (source 
code is supplied with the docu- 
mentation), the user enters it in 
a Basic program. This makes it 
easily usable by the non- 
machine-language programmer. 

Simple PRINT statements 
build a video display, and minor 
instructions to Scrinput inject 
the cursor into the first of up to 
80 logical fields on the screen. 
You can enter data into each 
field with complete cursor con- 
trol. When the data entry for the 
entire display is complete. Enter 
or another control key returns 
the program to Basic. From this 
point on, the Basic program 
handles the data as if it had been 
entered with an Input statement. 

When the CRT is fielded the 
cursor can appear only within 
the data fields; shift right arrow 
skips tab to the next logical field, 
shift left arrow to the previous 
one. There is complete wrap for 
the skip-tab feature. Under non- 
shift conditions the arrows move 
the cursor either one space left, 
right, up, or down. They do not 
destroy the data they pass over. 
The space bar spaces and re- 
moves any character in its path. 

During field specification you 
can tell Scrinput what type of 
data to accept in a given field 
(only numbers in a zip-code 



DATA BASE MANAGERS 



field, for example). This elimi- 
nates many common data-entry 
errors. You can search for punc- 
tuation, uppercase alpha, lower- 
case alpha, and numerical entry 
in any combination. The pro- 
gram ignores all keystrokes that 
are not specified as acceptable. 

While Enter returns control to 
the Basic program, you can use 
other control keys— Break 
breaks, Clear clears all data in 
the fields without emptying the 
screen— or use shift down arrow 
and any letter A-Z held at the 
same time as a control. Control 
P, for example, turns on the 
printer for data output from the 
display. 

Two sample programs show 
Scrinput at work, £ind two utility 
programs aid data storage and 
recovery. A complete source 
code with comments and flow- 
charts is provided. 

While thorough, the documen- 
tation does not lead you by the 
hand through Scrinput's opera- 
tion; some unclear points may 
cause trouble for Inexperienced 
Basic programmers. A number 
for technical assistance is sup- 
plied; that should be enough to 
help anyone get on the right 
road to proper Scrinput use. 
(Electronic Display Technology, 
3200 Polaris, Suite 3, Las 
Vegas, NV 89102; As of 
December 1982, an updated 
version of Scrinput has been on 
the TRS-80 market. The 
package sells for $49.95.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
April 1982 



^ 1^ ir ¥2 
Sort-II 
Northeast 1 
Model I 



Iicrowave 




Sort-II provides sophisticated 
sorting capability. It has ex- 
cellent documentation, and it 
sorts alphanumeric as well as 
numeric data. Sort-II looks at 
data as a series of multifield 
records. It handles and sorts 
records containing up to 20 
fields and can sort key on any 
five of them. 

This program is great for 
maintaining a mailing list that 
can be sorted by name, phone 
number, or zip code. It can also 
sort such items as your 
phonograph collection by name, 
composer, type of music, per- 
former, or location. 
(Northeast Microwave, P.O. Box 
6153, Syracuse, NY 1321 7. Sort- 
II is no longer available.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 



Special Delivery 
Software Etc. 
Model I 

Among professional mailing-list 
processors. Special Delivery rep- 
resents the current state of the 
art. If this package had reached 
the market a year ago, it could 
have become the Electronic Pen- 
cil of mailing lists— and still may 
do«3. 

As well as three programs on 
disk, three files are supplied that 
allow a newcomer to experiment 
before lurching headlong into his 
own lists. This is a thoughtful 
idea, because the documentation, 
though weU written, is so exten- 



61 



SOFTWARE 



sive that it becomes too much to 
digest. 

All three programs are written 
in machine code and leave any 
equivalent Basic program miles 
behind. If you have the Basic 
mailing list program from Radio 
Shack (TM., bow, scrape, face 
East, etc.), but want to change to 
Special Delivery, your current 
files can be quickly and painless- 
ly converted by Convert:. 

The main part of the package, 
Mailform, lets you create and edit 
mail list files flexibly. After check- 
ing to see if you have a lowercase 
video chip enabled (if not, every- 
thing typed will be taken as up- 
percase regardless of whether 
you use shifted characters), it dis- 
plays a form that makes it clear 
which field goes where and how 
many characters each allows. 

The keyboard routine has been 
well thought out. A flashing cur- 
sor lets you know where you are, 
an optional beeper wired to the 
cassette Jack warns that you've 
reached the end of a field. 
Shift/down-arrow is used as the 
control key, so no keyboard mod- 
ifications are required. 

The whole concept of Mailform 
is to do all of its work in memory, 
rather than using time-consum- 
ing disk I/O. This allows extreme- 
ly fast searches and sorts. When 
you have completed a file (up to 
316 records), that's when you 
save it to disk, or re-sort using 
another key and save it to a dif- 
ferent file. 

Even if you hit the reset button 
after typing in 315 records, all is 
not lost. Just type MAILFORM*. 
The appended asterisk will see to 
it that memory is not initialized 
and your records are safe. 

The Mailrite program creates 
personalized letters, labels, and 



envelopes from Mailform address 
files. Flags such as L for last 
name are replaced with fields 
from your address file; a letter file 
containing only flags yields a 
printout of fields from Mailform. 
Eight flags allow printer control 
from within the text, though 
pressing Break instead of Enter 
to abort a printout results in a 
spectacular crash. 

At a price of $125 this package 
is not cheap. But any business- 
man using mail lists (and that 
doesn't leave out many!) would 
be hard put to find a better one. 
(Special Delivery is now being 
marketed by Software Concepts, 
105 Preston Valley Shopping 
Center, Dallas, TX 75230. It is 
available for the Model I and III 
with 32K and one disk drive for 
$1 25 or for the Model II with 
Scripsit 2.0 for $199. An up- 
dated version for the Model I and 
III, XTRA Special Delivery, is 
now available for $1 99.) 

Jake Commander 
July 1980 



"DISK AND CASSEWE- 
OPERATING SYSTEMS 



DOSPLUS 
(See Page 279) 

■^ "^ "^ ■^ 
DOSPLUS 3.3 

Micro-Systems Software Inc. 
Model I or ID 

At this writing (October 1981), 
only one serious double-density 
DOS is available: DOSPLUS 3.3. 
It not only reads single-density 
TRSDOS, LDOS, and NEW- 
DOS80 disks, but also reads 
standard Model III TRSDOS 



52 



DISK AND CASSEWE OPERATING SYSTEMS 



disks. In addition, the Model III 
DOSPLUS reads and writes disks 
that are compatible with the 
Model I. 

Specialized disk I/O files and 
hardware-dependent features, 
however, cannot be shuttled be- 
tween the machines. The little 
gem that lets the Model I read 
Model III TRSDOS disks is the 
Convert utility. 

DOSPLUS 3.3 for the Model I 
currently supports only three de- 
vices: keyboard, video monitor, 
and printer. The RS-232 is not 
defined at this time. 

DOSPLUS 3.3 allows mixing of 
various track drives. The Format 
utility formats disks for the 
desired track count and storage 
mode (double or single density). 
Then DOSPLUS 3.3 takes care of 
all housekeeping. 

If specifying the track on each 
format is disturbing to you, Con- 
fig will let you preselect the track 
count and stepping rate, operate 
with a clock speed modification 
installed, configure a drive as 
double sided, and, if your printer 
can handle them, send unaltered 
graphics codes to the printer. 
However, Config can only con- 
figure the system drive to a cer- 
tain track count. 

You might want to transfer 
your program library from single- 
to double-density format; 
DOSPLUS does this with the 
Transfer utility. A special utility, 
Copy 1 , allows single-drive copy- 
ing of all file types. Create 
allocates disk space for a 
specified file. 

Chaining is available with the 
Build ... Do commands. Build 
lets you create a sequential set of 
tasks for DOSPLUS to perform. 
A Do file can be created with 
Build to get a directory, display 
the Free map, load a printer 



driver, set Basic memory size, 
and jump to Basic. 

Do checks high memory 
(4049H-404AH) and reserves 
about 300 bytes at the top of 
memory for itself and a small 
buffer. After Do executes, this 
memory space is returned to the 
system. 

A problem arises when a high- 
memory program occupies the 
same memory area that Do 
usurps. Trying to Build a file 
that first loads the GSF (Racet 
Computes) sort module into high 
memory is disastrous. When Do 
loads GSF, it obliterates its 
buffer and all Build instructions 
are lost. 

About a dozen programs are 
listed in the utilities section of 
the DOSPLUS 3.3 manual— all 
extend the versatility of the 
system. By being discrete about 
which utility functions become 
programs, you can create 
relatively small system disks. 
This provides the single-disk 
user with maximum storage 
space per disk. 

CLRFILE zeros a file but does 
not reallocate its storage area. 
Copy 1 is a necessity for single- 
drive users. It permits single- 
drive disks to transfer all types 
of files. Crunch is a utility that 
eliminates remarks and extra 
spaces in Basic programs. 
DiskZap has been amended to 
read single- or double-density 
disks, but it does not generate 
hash codes or passwords. 

Conspicuous by its absence is 
Superzap's DFS function, which 
permits examining or modifying 
by file name rather than by sec- 
tor. Micro-Systems Software pro- 
vides this ability in a stand-alone 
machine-language DiskDump 
program. 

Micro-Systems also provides an 



Ow 



SOFTWARE 



adequate spooler with DOSPLUS 
3.3. The spooler uses an 
operator-defined memory buffer 
and an optional disk file for 
printer output, Spoolong 
becomes a semi-background 
task allowing the host program 
disk I/O. If you are too conser- 
vative in allocating spooling 
memory space, the spooler tem- 
porarily seizes CPU control until 
the spooler buffer is cleared of its 
backlog. 

DOSPLUS Extended Disk 
Basic Version 1 .4 is authored 
solely by Micro-Systems Soft- 
ware, but I have not experienced 
a compatibility problem between 
DOSPLUS Basic and the 
MicroSoft/Tandy Extended Disk 
Basic. The only incompatibilities 
encountered were with the 
specialized disk I/O file structure 
of NEWDOS80 and with entry 
into Disk Basic itself. 

When entering DOSPLUS 
Basic, no file buffers (channels) 
are allocated. With other DOSes. 
the default value is three buffers 
reserved. You must explicitly 
reserve I/O buffers when enter- 
ing DOSPLUS Basic. 

The SR/CMD module is unique 
in that it allows the programmer 
to search and replace a string 
variable or expression. 

File-handling enhancements 
with DOSPLUS include variable- 
record-length files, making ISAM 
techniques possible. With 
variable-record-length files, you 
don't have to calculate 
subrecords. 

Micro-Systems Software 
reworked Basic in DOSPLUS 3.3 
quite extensively. Actually, two 
Basics are provided: a full- 
feature Basic and an abbreviated 
TBasic. TBasic is meant to be 
used after a program is de- 
bugged and the various debug- 



ging utilities are not needed. 
This provides the user with 
more memory space for data. 

DOSPLUS 3.3 does have some 
shortcomings. It lacks a DOS 
high-memory command as well 
as complete device handling. It 
has no DOS Boot command for a 
warm reboot and the Basic2 
library command has been 
eliminated. 

It has only fair documentation. 
The literature is adequate for an 
experienced hacker but might 
not suffice for an entry-level 
user. There is also some conflict 
between DOSPLUS's keyboard 
routine and some Level II 
programs. 

Overall, DOSPLUS 3.3 is a 
stable, efficient, fast, and easy-to- 
master DOS. However, if you 
have mastered NEWDOS80, you 
will miss many of Apparat's ex- 
tra enhancements. 

The major factor in weaning 
me away from NEWDOS80 was 
DOSPLUS's portability from 
Model I to Model III, and the ease 
with which it interchanges 
single- and double-density disks. 
The standard features of 
DOSPLUS have been the basis 
for many stand-alone utilities. If 
nothing else but this is con- 
sidered, DOSPLUS 3.3 is a 
bargain. A business can do little 
better than DOSPLUS. 
(Micro-Systems Software Inc., 
4301-18 Oak Circle, Boca 
Raton, FL 33431. DOSPLUS 3.3 
is up to version 3.5; $149.95.) 

James LaSalle 
October 1981 

■^ -^ ^ -^ 
DOSPLUS 3.4 
Micro-Systems Software 
Model I or III 

Several new concepts are evi- 



DISK AND CASSEWE OPERATING SYSTEMS 



dent in DOSPLUS 3.4. One of 
these is the cylinder idea, replac- 
ing tracks on disks. This idea 
comes from hard-disk tech- 
nology. 

On DOSPLUS 3.4, both sides 
of a drive are seen as one drive 
and files can span both sides. 
Track 1 goes around the first 
side of the disk and then con- 
tinues on the back side, so there 
are six granules per track (with 
six sectors per granule). 

DOSPLUS 3.4 can also read 
and write 40-track disks in an 
80-track drive (with some 
restrictions). This is done by 
skipping every other track, and 
guidelines are given in the 
manual for carrying this out suc- 
cessfully. 

This removes one difficulty in 
using 80-track drives: com- 
patibility with the more common 
40-track drives. The only real 
difficulty remaining is its inabili- 
ty to read self-booting 40-track 
disks in an 80-track drive. 

Another new concept im- 
plemented in DOSPLUS 3.4 is 
that of complete device handl- 
ing. The Force and Join com- 
mands allow you to tie devices 
together or redirect them. Even 
more important is that it allows 
you to use disk files as devices, 
so all printer or video output 
could be sent to a disk file for 
later examination, for instance, 

A third new concept intro- 
duced is that of the wild-card 
disk file specification. When con- 
verting, transferring, or purging, 
you can use a wild-card mask so 
all fields meeting the desired 
conditions (such as beginning 
with CRS or ending with /DAT) 
will receive the specified action. 

There are also two significant 
additions to Basic. The first is 
the INPUT® command, which 



vastly improves input format- 
ting. The second is CMD "O, an 
array-sorting utility. Its syntax is 
compatible with CMD "O in 
Model III TRSDOS, but it is far 
more flexible. 

The DOSPLUS manual is vast- 
ly improved, and it now includes 
a 42-page technical section 
detailing the available DOSPLUS 
system calls. 

DOSPLUS 3.4 does have some 
drawbacks. The authors have 
reverted to the ROM screen 
printer in the Model III version 
(in the interest of saving space), 
which means that graphics will 
not be sent to the printer. 
Diskzap, the disk editor, isn't set 
up under the cylinder concept. 
To examine the back side of a 
disk, you must ask for drive 
OB— a fact not mentioned in the 
manual. 

Unfortunately, the price of 
DOSPLUS 3.4 has risen with its 
new capability; its $150 price 
tag puts it in the same category 
as NEWDOS80 and LDOS, thus 
removing one of the arguments 
in its favor. However, with its 
new features, along with the 
DOSPLUS 3.3 strong points 
such as Model I-to-Model III com- 
patibility, automatic density 
recognition, variable-save option 
when chaining programs, all 
DOS commands available from 
Basic, print spooling, Basic 
shorthand commands, Diskzap. 
and so on, combined with its 
tremendous speed and ease of 
use, it is one of the best 
operating systems available for 
the TRS-80. 

(Micro-Systems Software Inc.. 
4301-18 Oak Circle, Boca 
Raton, FL 33431; version 3.5; 
$149.95.) 

John Ratzlaff 
October 1982 



00 



SOFTWARE 




DOSPLUS 3.4 
(See Page 283) 



-^ ^ -^ 1/2 

KWICOS 
KWIK Software 
Model I 

KWICOS is a cassette 
operating system that converts 
your 500-baiid Model I with 16K 
to a high-speed system for 
loading and saving Basic or 
System programs. 

KWICOS is a System program 
using about 1500 bytes of low 
user RAM. It lets you use your 
regular high-memory utilities as 
usual. KWICOS provides disk- 
like loading and saving com- 
mands in addition to your regu- 
lar Basic commands. Keyboard 
debounce, operating speed, and 
the speed of loading and saving 
programs are controlled with 
KWICOS commands. 

KWICOS's features include 
program loading and saving up 
to 4.5 times faster than Level II, 
with unique screen graphic sym- 
bols to indicate lock-on and 
transfer status; an active break 
key during program transfer; a 
Merge command allowing you to 
append Basic programs; pro- 
gram identification with a file 
name and comments of up to 32 
characters; optional password 
protection; verification of any file 
saved in KWICOS format; 

56 



display of Basic program length; 
display of start, end, and entry 
addresses for System programs; 
display of file name and 
parameters of all KWICOS pro- 
grams on tape; controllable 
keyboard debounce; and slowed 
program execution and scrolling 
of listing or tabulations for any 
program in memory. 

For all its versatility, KWICOS 
is simple to load and use, and it 
doesn't need reserved memory 
space. You can add another 
KWICOS-format Basic program 
to the one in memory with 
Merge or MERGE "file name" in 
memory; KWICOS appends the 
second program to the first by 
moving the appropriate program 
pointers with no regard to line 
numbers. 

KWICOS is easy to use, and it 
has no bugs. The user must 
identify KWICOS cassette pro- 
grams with the data-rate 
number; the data-rate selected 
on program initialization must 
match the KWICOS recording, 
and the data-rate cannot be 
changed without reloading 
KWICOS. The preliminary 
documentation I received with 
KWICOS was well written but 
left out some essential details. 
This is being corrected, and 
some more program features are 
being added. 

If you do not have a high- 
speed tape device and do not ex- 
pect to get disk drives soon, 
KWICOS will save you time and 
frustration, and provide 
keyboard debounce and slow- 
down for program development 
and debugging. 

(KWIK S^tware, P.O. Box 328, 
Bolivar, MO 65613; $26.) 

Fred Blechman 
February 1982 



DISK AND CASSETTE OPERATING SYSTEMS 



-^ -^ -^ -^ 

LDOS 

Logical Systems Inc. 

Model I 

First of all, let me relieve the 
suspense by stating that, in my 
opinion, LDOS is by far the best 
disk operating system (DOS) cur- 
rently available for the Model I 
TRS-80. 

The current official version of 
LDOS documentation (Ldocs) is 
253 pages. It's broken down into 
sections which describe the 
features and commands of the 
system for the everyday user, 
and sections with specialized 
technical information for the 
systems level programmer. 
Every command has its own sec- 
tion in the documentation and 
each of these sections has its 
own sequence of page numbers. 
The writing style is a little more 
technical than it needs to be, but 
no one should be stymied by the 
language, thanks to the 
numerous examples. Explana- 
tions are provided for key LDOS 
concepts. 

A sampling of information in 
the Ldocs technical section in- 
cludes such goodies as maps of 
system entry points (including 
some in Level II ROM), explana- 
tions of the directory, device con- 
trol blocks (DCBs), file control 
blocks (FCBs), and file formats. 
This section also contains ex- 
planations of the more arcane 
features of the DOS. Finally, 
Ldocs contains a five-page 
glossary and a six-page error dic- 
tionary. 

LDOS offers extensive 
customer support for registered 
purchasers of LDOS. The LDOS 
development team is constantly 
working on upgrades and 
patches. Any certified user may 



send in his or her master disk, 
plus return postage, and, for no 
additional charge, receive the 
latest version by return mail. A 
newsletter is mailed quarterly to 
registered users who also have 
access to an LDOS bulletin 
board on CompuServe. A toll 
free number exists for the sole 
purpose of user support, not 
ordering. 

LDOS offers various changes 
and improvements to the 
TRS-80 keyboard, including de- 
bounce and auto-repeat. A key- 
stroke multiply (KSM) package 
lets you custom define the keys. 

System reconfiguration refers 
to the System command and its 
various parameters. This com- 
mand allows you to alter certain 
aspects of the system's intrinsic 
performance. For example, you 
can tell the DOS that you only 
have one disk drive. Another 
System command. Alive, keeps 
a graphics block wriggling at the 
top right corner of the screen 
whenever the interrupt-task pro- 
cessor is active. Other System 
parameters let you tell your 
computer what you want the 
cursor to look like, whether or 
not it should blink, invoke lower- 
case display (if you have a lower- 
case modification), or tell the 
system if you want a screen 
print option. 

LDOS provides a number of 
enhancements to Basic (Basic 
must be copied over from a 
TRSDOS disk). These include 
new file modes, blocked (variable 
length) records, a program single 
stepper, and several new CMD 
"n" statements. CMD's O, P, N, 
and X, respectively, turn off 
Break's ability to send you to 
Debug, for a screenprint, 
renumber a program, and pro- 
vide a variable cross reference 



57 



SOFIWARE 



utility. 

LDOS also provides an extend- 
ed debugging package that goes 
beyond the capabilities of 
TRSDOS's Debug. It may be 
used on code either in memory 
or on disk. Yet, it is not quite as 
handy for disk editing as one of 
the ZAP family monitors 
because you must load the infor- 
mation off disk, alter it in 
memory, and then write it back 
to disk. 

A mini-monitor, one of LDOS's 
fine touches, is available right 
from the DOS, via the Memory 
command. LDOS honors H1GH$, 
which means that it protects 
programs in high memory, as 
does Basic. Memory tells you the 
current HIGH$ (Memsize re- 
served) or you can use it to set 
HIGH$ to a new value. You can 
use Memory to jump directly 
from DOS to any specified 
address. 

LDOS also offers a surprisingly 
comprehensive Job control 
language (JCL), extended device 
independence, and a wide 
spread acceptance of partial 
filespecs (with wild-card char- 
acters). 

Another aspect of the new 
LDOS design philosophy is 
manifested in its upward com- 
patibility with TRSDOS. It does 
not promise to mesh perfectly 
with NEWDOS files, but its 
PROT command does attempt to 
render alien disks readable by 
LDOS without diminishing their 
readability by the other system. 

LDOS comes with the best 
spooler I've yet seen for the 
TRS-80 Model I. LDOS's spooler 
allows you to specify whether 
the buffer is to be in memory, on 
disk, or both. 

One feature that may not be 
popular is the absence of Disk 



Basic from the LDOS master 
disk. You must copy Basic over 
from a TRSDOS 2.2 or 2.3 disk. 
However, once this is done, 
LDOS patches Basic and offers 
several enhancements. 

Other features available on 
competing DOSes but not offered 
in the current release of LDOS 
include ULTRADOS's selection 
of three Basics with three dif- 
ferent trade-offs of features ver- 
sus memory and NEWDOS-80's 
MINIDOS. At this time, LDOS 
does not support the Percom 
double-density board, but plans 
to in the future. 

The most serious problem I've 
come across is the possibility of 
losing data if you kill a file while 
it's still open. The consequences 
of killing an open file in LDOS 
are nowhere near as dire as they 
were under early releases of 
TRSDOS. A similar problem is 
that innocent files may be over- 
written if a disk fills up while the 
printer is routed to a file. 

On the whole, I've found LDOS 
to be as error-free as any DOS 
I've ever worked with. In human 
engineering, system-integration, 
and flexibility it runs cylinders 
around the others. I think it's 
well worth its price. 
(LDOS is sold by Logical 
Systems Inc., 1 1 520 N. Port 
Washington Road, Mequon, Wl 
53092; LDOS 5,1, Model I and 
III, $129.) 

Paul Wiener 
June 1981 

''k ^ ^ 'AV2 
LDOS 5.1 

Logical Systems Inc. 
Model I, II, and III 

LDOS 5. 1 is the state of the art 
in operating systems for the 
TRS-80. It supports more 



6 A 



DISK AND CASSETTE OPERATING SYSTEMS 



features and different kinds of 
hardware than any of its com- 
petitors and possesses a user 
friendliness not found elsewhere. 

LDOS allows any device to be 
opened as though it were a file; 
for instance, you can transmit 
different lines of a program to 
serial and parallel printers. An 
optional disk ($70) contains 
many routines for device filter- 
ing, such as removing or 
translating codes that make your 
printer do funny things. One of 
the filters provided makes 
printers which do not slash their 
zeroes do a backspace and print 
a slash mark. Also on the filter 
disk is a complete EBCDIC 
translator and a Dvorak 
keyboard filter. 

A MINIDOS filter is provided 
with LDOS 5.1 that allows you 
to kill files, check free space, 
send characters to the printer, 
turn the clock on or off, enter the 
debugger, display a disk direc- 
tory, or repeat the last DOS com- 
mand. All this is possible from 
within your application, provid- 
ed the application has not dis- 
abled the interrupts. All properly 
written filters and device drivers 
may be loaded into memory and 
then SYSGENed to be loaded 
automatically and quickly at 
each reboot. 

A TRSDOS user can step right 
into LDOS with minimal effort. 
Although some of its advanced 
features require study to under- 
stand, full mastery is not needed 
for successful operation of the 
system. The command syntax is 
almost identical to TRSDOS. 
though every command has 
been greatly expanded. 

Another example of user 
friendliness is the Percom 
Doubler installed in the expan- 
sion interface. The default im- 



mediately becomes double densi- 
ty for the format operation, and 
the track count for the drive is 
used as a default also. The LDOS 
user simply specifies the kind of 
format he wants or presses enter 
to use the defaults (which are 
user definable) and the system 
takes care of the rest. LDOS 
knows what kind of disk it is try- 
ing to read and reads or writes to 
it automatically, recognizing a 
single- or double-density disk 
without operator intervention. 

The Copy command under 
LDOS is greatly expanded. It 
copies any file from one disk to 
another, but also copies a file to 
a device such as the RS-232 
(useful to me when I transferred 
a number of files to an Apple). 
The command is not intended 
for multiple file transfers or disk 
backup; a Backup command is 
provided for this purpose. Unlike 
other systems. Backup cannot 
reproduce to a disk that has not 
been formatted, but I like this as 
it has saved me from accidental- 
ly ruining a valuable disk on 
more than one occasion. 
Backups may be done by file, 
date, range of dates, or whether 
or not they exist on the destina- 
tion disk. 

LDOS comes with a complete 
job-control language and 26 
pages of documentation. The 
former is a com.plete chaining 
language in itself; though not as 
powerful as Basic, it is much 
more powerful than the simple 
chaining facilities offered on 
other systems. The documenta- 
tion is the clearest, best written I 
have ever seen. More help is only 
a phone call away from the 
LDOS support team. 

Included with LDOS is a 
printer spooler that operates 
with complete invisibility. It 



69 



SOFTWARE 



spools the printer from 5K of 
memory and, when this is filled, 
can use up to 50K of disk space 
before hanging up the system to 
wait on the printer. It is one of 
the best spoolers I've seen, in- 
cluding those offered as stand- 
alone programs. It works from 
within Scripsit and any other 
program that does not disable 
the interrupts. 

The KI/DVR device driver 
enables features such as 
keystroke type-ahead and the 
JKL screen-print function. Type- 
ahead is the feature I like most; 
it allows you to key in your input 
before the computer is ready for 
it. When the computer is ready, 
the information is relayed to it 
without delay. The type-ahead 
buffer can be emptied at any 
time. The JKL function, though 
still called by that name, is ac- 
tivated by pressing shift-down 
arrow-* at the same time on the 
Model I and III. This prevents the 
J, K, or L key from echoing to 
the screen and messing up the 
printout— a thoughtful and need- 
ed change. 

The most powerful feature in 
LDOS is the System (SYSGEN) 
command. This command 
causes all your system con- 
figuration, drivers, filters, 
routing, linking, and so on, as 
well as Spooler, Verify, and 
Clock, to be written to a file 
called CONFIG/SYS on drive 0. 
Each time the system is booted, 
it loads the user's configuration 
from this file. All system 
changes are made first in 
memory and do not become per- 
manent until you execute a 
SYSGEN. This lets you experi- 
ment with different configura- 
tions without making a special 
System disk. 
The LCOMM utility is an ad- 



vanced communications 
package for use with the RS-232. 
Because it is so flexible (you can 
even use it to communicate 
directly with your printer, 
though not very well), it is dif- 
ficult to learn; sit down with the 
documentation for at least half 
an hour and save yourself a lot 
of on-line frustration. The patch 
utility allows changes to the 
system or to other files. 

The repair utility brings disks 
created on certain other systems 
up to LDOS standards. It up- 
dates TRSDOS's data address 
mark to an F8H instead of the 
FAH, making single-density 
disks directly usable on the 
Model III with LDOS. In fact, if 
your Model I is double density, 
you can switch disks back and 
forth between models without 
even knowing what density the 
disk is! It also performs addi- 
tional correction on the disk to 
ensure reliable operation. The 
HITAPE utility permits the use 
of high-speed cassette I/O on a 
Model III. 

The Basic provided with 
LDOS, LBasic, is a complete 
language rather than a patch to 
Radio Shack's Basic as was the 
case in the past. It offers several 
enhancements over RS Basic 
and is completely compatible 
with it. 

Using Scripsit under LDOS 
with the LSCRIPT/FIX patch is a 
pleasure. The patch allows any 
ASCII character to be entered 
from the keyboard, including the 
tilde, left and right braces, and 
underline character. Also provid- 
ed is a Scripsit* text recover re- 
entry that works with as much 
ease as Basic* does under 
TRSDOS. To accommodate this, 
the control key and a couple of 
other keys have been redefined. 



60 



DISK AND CASSETTE OPERATING SYSTEMS 



There is also a Scrip/FIX for 
those who do not need the ad- 
vanced features or do not wish 
to redefine their keyboards; 
VisiCalc has had a couple of new 
commands added and made 
Model I and III transportable. 

An extra feature is a quarterly 
newsletter mailed to all 
registered LDOS owners. System 
module patches are included in 
this newsletter as well as many 
user-contributed utility routines. 

LDOS is the best value today 
in an operating system for the 
TRS-80. LDOS 5. 1 comes with 
so many utility programs, 
drivers, and filters that it re- 
quires two disks to hold it all on 
a single-density, 35-track Model 
L If you need additional com- 
puting power, LDOS 5.1 is the 
best choice you can make! 
(Logical Systems Inc., 1 1 520 N. 
Port Washington Road, Mequon, 
WI 53092. LDOS 5.1 is currently 
available for the Model I and IE, 
and is priced at $129. A Model 
H version is being developed.) 

Charles D. Knight 
September 1982 



LIX)S5.1 
(See Page 283) 



MULTIDOS 
{See Page 283) 



•^ -^ ^ ^ 
NEWDOS80 2.0 
Apparat Inc. 
Model I and III 



With the release of 
NEWDOS80 2.0 for both the 
Model I and III, Apparat has pro- 
duced an extensively revised 



system that can meet any 
challenger head-on! NEWDOS is 
a new operating system rather 
than a debugged and enhanced 
TRSDOS. 

Apparat supplies seven other 
programs on the NEWDOS disk. 
Superzap allows direct disk ac- 
cess for applying corrections. 
Chainbid provides a mini-text 
editor for writing chain files. ED- 
TASM is Radio Shack's 
Editor/ Assembler with disk 
capabilities. 

LMOFFSET loads machine- 
language programs from tape to 
disk and vice-versa, and applies 
a relocating appendage to keep 
them from crashing DOS while 
loading. Dircheck reads a direc- 
tory to provide essential repair 
information. Disassem, a 
machine-language disassembler, 
writes a source file readable by 
EDTASM to disk. 

H. S. Gentry's automatic 
spooler ASPOOL feeds a print 
file from disk to the printer while 
the computer processes another 
program. Version 1 owners note 
that none of these programs as 
supplied with Version 1 operate 
under Version 2. Read the 
documentation carefully when 
converting. 

Version 2 and Version 1 in- 
compatibilities make some pro- 
grams inoperative unless you in* 
corporate changes. The same ap- 
plies to TRSDOS, mainly with 
machine-language programs 
that call certain DOS routines. 

Apparat also supplies zaps for 
Scripsit, VisiCalc, APL80/CMD, 
and Racet's DSM and Infinite 
Basic so they function properly. 
As with other operating systems 
differing from TRSDOS, not all 
programs from other sources 
run correctly. 

Technical jargon can be con- 



61 



SOFTWARI 



fusing even for knowledgL-able 
operators. Because the word 
"track" implies that a track 
could span several physical 
tracks on the disk, Apparat 
created "lump." A lump can 
span several tracks, and a 
granule can start in one track 
and end in another. 

Double-density and eight-inch 
disks can use the maximum sec- 
tor/track count and maintain the 
same directory structure. 

In NEWDOS80 2.0, Apparat 
has modified Copy format 6 to 
recognize a copy-by-file (CBF) 
parameter. Files are copied one 
at a time rather than as a full 
disk back-up. This copy format 
recognizes two new parameters: 
the destination file only (DFO) 
parameter, and the inclusion list 
file (ILF) parameter. 

NEWDOS does not provide a 
back-up function; instead, six 
different forms of the Copy com- 
mand are available. The first 
four provide for single-file copy, 
while five and six are for full 
disk copies. 

For the Model III only, you can 
specify printer lines per page 
and characters per line with a 
Forms command. Setcom ac- 
tivates and deactivates the 
RS-232 interface, and can set or 
change word length, baud rate, 
stop bits, and parity. Setcom 
directs whether the input 
routine should wait until an in- 
put byte is received or an output 
byte is sent. 

Apparat has enhanced older 
Basic abilities and added new 
ones— specify the number of 
files, memory protect size, and a 
Basic command sequence from 
DOS or by an Auto command. 
Two direct editing commands 
have been added, and a Renew 
command recovers programs 

62 



lost by an accidental New. 

NEWDOS80 2.0 incorporates 
Basic CMD functions similar to 
Model III TRSDOS. Apparat pro- 
vides a greatly enhanced Basic 
sort routine with command O. 
You can implement a direct sort 
on up to nine single- or multi- 
dimensional arrays. 

In addition, an indirect sort 
builds a new integer array that 
forms a table of pointers to 
elements of other arrays in 
sorted order without changing 
the other arrays. You can then 
use the new arrays to read the 
other arrays in sorted order. 
Both sorts function in ascending 
or descending mode. 

Further refinements to delight 
any veteran programmer are 
available through nine CMD F 
functions. These help you bail 
out of complex programming 
and prevent program crashes. 

TRSDOS defined sequential 
and random disk-file structures; 
NEWDOS80 1.0 redefined these 
files and added two other types 
with a total of five subtypes. Se- 
quential files became print/input 
files; random files became field- 
item files. Apparat added 
marked-item files with subtypes 
MI, MU, and MF, and fixed-item 
files with subtypes FI and FF. 

NEWDOS80 2.0 leaves all five 
file types. The new documenta- 
tion is much better than the old 
one. Understanding these file 
structures is not easy and re- 
quires time and effort, but no 
more than the original TRSDOS 
manual. 

NEWDOS80 2.0 supports up 
to four physical drives, and it 
supports standard single-density 
disks along with PERCOM, 
LNW, and Apparat double- 
density boards on 35-, 40-, 77-, 
and 80-track single- or dual- 



DITOR/ASSEMBLERS 



headed five-inch or eight-inch 
drives. 

Double density presents cer- 
tain problems with data 
transmission. To ensure that a 
formatted disk is stress tested, 
Apparat supplies two optional 
zaps using the byte 6DB6 for for- 
matting in place of the standard 
Model I E5E5 or Model III 5B5B 
patterns. 

The manual states that up to 
30 percent of disks not certified 
for double density might fail us- 
ing the worst-case 6DB6 format- 
ting. Since I just added double 
density, none of my old disks are 
DD certified. Using 6DB6, 
NEWDOS80 2.0 and the new 
Percom Doubler II, only 3 per- 
cent failed. Apparently. 
NEWDOS and the Doubler 11 are 
a perfect team. 

Model III TRSDOS disks can- 
not be read by NEWDOS80 2.0 
due to a difference in disk struc- 
ture. However, the Model III Con- 
vert utility works on 2.0 five- 
inch single-density disks if the 
directory is properly laid out. 

Also, the Copy command, 
combined with the proper 
PDRIVE specification, lets you 
transfer files between the two 
systems. You can swap disks 
between the Model I and Model 
III if you follow certain limita- 
tions and specifications. 

NEWDOS80 2.0 represents an 
improvement over Version 1.0 
and is a worthwhile investment. 
Its extensive additions to Basic 
editing and programming 
features provide my Model I with 
most of the Model III capabilities. 

Apparat goes to a great deal of 
time and effort to remove bugs 
from NEWDOS, but does not 
supply phone support personnel. 
Apparat also charges for new on- 
disk copies of NEWDOS zaps, 



There are trade-offs in any 
operating system. The best way 
to choose between all the alter- 
natives would be to use them, 
but expense prohibits this. The 
NEWEJOS routing capabilities 
should suit most needs although 
they do not approach the 
niceties provided by the LDOS 
phantom-device routing. 

However, to my knowledge, no 
one supplies a facility in any 
way similar to NEWDOS Mini- 
DOS, or the various disk file 
structures of NEWDOS. 
NEWDOS80 2.0 represents the 
state of the art. 

(Apparat Inc., 4401 S. Tamarac 
Parkway, Denver, CO 80237; 
$149.) 

Paul R. Prescott 
February 1982 



NEWDOS80 2,0 
(See Page 283) 



DIIOR/ASSEMBLERS- 



-^ -^ ^ 1/2 

CCEDTASM-F 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Color Computer 

EDTASM -t- for the Color Com- 
puter is the offspring of ED- 
TASM + for the Model I. It has a 
subset of the features found in 
its dad, but unfortunately, it 
isn't much like the old man. 

EDTASM + is reasonably well 
done and comes in a ROM car- 
tridge. It is made up of three 
parts: the editor, the assembler, 
and a debug package called 
ZBUG, 



O^ 



SOFTWARE 



The editor contains standard 
Radio Shack editing commands, 
as well as two interesting com- 
mands not seen on other Radio 
Shack editors: C, which copies a 
block of lines; and M, which 
moves a block of lines. 

The assembler uses 6808E 
mnemonics only. This isn't a 
detriment unless you have ex- 
isting 6800 code that could be 
converted to 6809E system, and 
that isn't easily done given the 
configuration differences be- 
tween systems. 

There are a large number of 
operators that you can use in the 
assembler. You can use addition 
and subtraction, division and 
multiplication, modulus, and 
logical operations. 

The most powerful feature 
that the assembler portion gives 
you is the ability to do in- 
memory assembly. This allows 
you to take the source code in 
the edit buffer, assemble it, and 
store the resulting object code in 
memory. The object code is 
stored after the edit buffer and 
symbol table; it is properly 
relocated without your having to 
specify any absolute origins. 

This in-memory assembly 
makes for rapid debugging. You 
can go directly from one func- 
tion to another. You don't have 
to laboriously patch the pro- 
gram; you simply type E, enter 
the editor, make the changes, 
type A/IM to assemble in 
memory, type Z to enter ZBUG, 
and voila! The object is there. 

I do wish the beautiful macro 
capability of the Model I ED- 
TASM+ had been left in, 
though. You can get along well 
without macros, but I'd be will- 
ing to pay double to have the 
capability. 

Another thing that would have 



been nice is conditional 
assembly. It lets you assemble 
bracketed code segments condi- 
tionally. 

Pretty printing is another 
desirable capability. It enables 
you to use things like Title, Page 
(to skip a page), and other 
amenities. 

The third segment of ED- 
TASM + , ZBUG, gives you a 
disassembly capability that 
allows you to list any data area 
in memory, with the assumption 
that it contains 6808E instruc- 
tions; the output is the equiva- 
lent 6809E mnemonics. 

ZBUG allows a great deal of 
flexibility in input and output 
formats. You can display 
memory in the byte mode (1 
byte at a time), word mode (2 
bytes at a time, as in addresses), 
mnemonic mode (disassembly), 
or ASCII mode, and in numeric 
or symbolic form. The input and 
output number bases can be oc- 
tal (base 8, not too useful), 
decimal, or hexadecimal. You 
can enter data in mixed formats. 
ZBUG shines in this area. 

I would like to see a Find com- 
mand included that would 
enable you to find a specified 
byte or address value. 

If you have a cassette-based 
system, I recommend ED- 
TASM + without hesitation. It is 
sure to become the standard for 
the Color Computer. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $49.95.) 

William Barden, Jr. 
November 1982 



Color Diagnostics 
(See Page 184) 



04 



EDITOR/ASSEMBLERS 



-^ ^ ^ y2 
EDAS 
Misosys 
Model I and III 

EDAS is a disk-based edi- 
tor/assembler. Tape I/O is not 
supported and EDAS does not 
support macros, relocatable code 
generation, or conditional as- 
sembly. The next implementa- 
tion of EDAS will support some 
conditional assembly and other 
new features. However, it is 
doubtful that macros or relocat- 
able code will ever be supported. 

EDAS is not organized in 
overlays. Normally it's all there 
in memory at the same time. 
However, if you're cramped for 
space, EDAS' X (extend) com- 
mand lets the text buffer over- 
write the assembler. This in ef- 
fect achieves an overlay system, 
since the assembler can be 
reloaded and run after the 
source has been moved to disk. 
But you will rarely need to 
bother with that procedure 
because EDAS solves the long 
source file problem in an- 
other way. 

Via the Get statement, EDAS 
assembles directly from disk. 
One assembly may use any 
number of Get statements. Thus 
EDAS lets you break your source 
program into several modules, 
each of which is stored in a 
separate disk file. Since a file is 
assembled as a result of a Get 
isn't actually buffered in 
memory, a module can be larger 
than 48K. 

If your in memory source code 
consists only of a series of Get 
statements and an End state- 
ment, most of your computer's 
memory is free to hold the sym- 
bol table. This solves the source 
size problem and permits editing 



and assembling of large pro- 
grams. It also provides the basis 
of a subroutine library manage- 
ment system. 

In fact, there are no ORGs in 
any of the Get modules, they will 
be sequentially arranged in 
memory relative to the ORG in 
the text buffer. The EDAS 
assembler also accepts a View 
command, which causes it to 
display the requested disk file on 
the video screen. And to further 
enhance its disk, EDAS allows 
viewing disk directories (in- 
cluding file size allocations and 
free space) and killing files 
without leaving the editor. 

Three other nice features of 
EDAS have a synergy resulting 
in a breakthrough in debugging 
ease. I am referring to the /IM 
assembly feature (lets you 
assemble a program directly into 
memory), the Branch command 
(lets you jump to any specified 
address), and EDAS' warm start 
capacity. 

EDAS supports lowercase and 
offers two modes of operation. In 
one, both upper- and lowercase 
characters are maintained in the 
text buffer Just as they were 
keyed in. In the other, certain 
lowercase characters are con- 
verted to uppercase as they are 
inserted, because assembler syn- 
tax requires instructions, 
mnemonics, and labels to all be 
uppercase. Even in this mode, 
EDAS does not convert material 
in quotes or comments, since 
lowercase in those areas would 
not generate assembly errors. 

EDAS has several other im- 
provements over other 
editor/assemblers. For example, 
labels may be up to 14 
characters long. 

The package's documentation 
is well written and complete; it 



65 



SOFTWARE 



details the operation of the 
editor/assembler only and is not 
a tutorial for those seeking a 
tutorial in Z80 machine- 
language programming. 

Finally, I have discovered a 
few minor bugs with the utility. 
They are cosmetic and 
documentational and do not in- 
terfere with the program's opera- 
tion. For instance, when explain- 
ing the Write command, the 
documentation indicates that a 
comma should be used to 
separate the starting and ending 
line numbers. Actually, a colon 
must be used. 

(Misosys, 5904 Edgehill Drive, 
Alexandria, VA 22303; Version 
4.0, $100.) 

Paul Weiner 
November 1981 



■^^ "^ "^f 
EDAS 4.0 
Galactic Software 
Model II 

The EDAS 4.0 Editor/Assem- 
bler package for the Model 11 
uses EDTASM commands as a 
subset of its own command set. 
An attractive feature of this soft- 
ware program is that you can 
assemble directly to either 
memory or disk. You can use 
this direct-to-memory option in 
conjunction with the Model II 
debugger, which gives you a 
powerful method of developing 
machine code software. 

The editor function is ex- 
cellent. You can edit in either the 
line or global mode, and each 
changed string will be displayed 
by the editor as it comes to it. 
Subroutines, tables, and even 
blocks of lines can be moved 
with ease from one place within 
the text to another, and the 



editor will automatically renum- 
ber the text. 

Although the EDAS 4.0 is high 
priced, this assembler/editor 
package does it all, and is a 
useful piece of software for the 
Model II. 

(Galactic Software, 1 1 520 K 
Port Washington, Mequon, WI 
53092. EDAS 4.0 has been 
replaced by an expanded ver- 
sion, EDAS 5.0, which is avail- 
able for $199.) 

Jake Commander 
August 1980 



^ "A" ^ -^ V2 
EDTASM-Plus 
Microsoft 
Model I 

Microsoft's EDTASM-Plus is 
one of those miracle programs 
that cures just about every has- 
sle you might think of. If you are 
just starting to get into Assem- 
bly language and the inner 
workings of a TRS-80, EDTASM- 
Plus is Just what you want. 

EDTASM-Plus is an incredibly 
complete Assembly-language 
development system oriented to 
the cassette TRS-80 user, and 
takes into account the overall 
design of the TRS-80, the way it 
uses memory, and so on. 

EDTASM-Plus has three im- 
portant parts. The first, the 
editor, is much like the same 
feature in the original Edi- 
tor/Assembler. Using numbered 
program lines, it lets you type in 
Assembly-language programs in 
Z80 mnemonics, or code words. 
The editor stores these lines for 
later conversion, or assembly, in- 
to the actual numeric machine- 
level commands from which the 
Z80 chip in the TRS-80 was de- 



66 



EDITOR/ASSEMBLERS 



signed to work. 

Editing features in EDTASM* 
Plus have been greatly expanded 
over those in the original 
Editor/ Assembler. EDTASM-Plus 
lets you move any part of your 
Assembly-language program to 
another set of program lines. It 
also lets you edit a given series 
of program lines without having 
to reenter the Edit function for 
every line. 

EDTASM-Plus also adds a cou- 
ple of important features not 
found in the original Editor/ 
Assembler. For example, it ac* 
cepts macro definitions, and it 
also allows conditional assembly- 
You can establish conditions 
that must be met for a given part 
of the program to become part of 
your assembled machine- 
language program, and if the 
condition is not true, the 
assembly just skips that part of 
the program. 

The second part of EDTASM- 
Plus, the assembler, reads your 
mnemonics and converts them 
to actual digital instruction for 
Z80. EDTASM-Plus provides a 
variety of error messages and 
warnings when your program is 
assembled, like the original 
Editor/ Assembler. 

EDTASM-Plus assembles your 
program directly into the 
TRS-80's memory so you don't 
have to record it on cassette to 
run and debug the program. It 
also gives you plenty of the in- 
teractive features that are in- 
herent with a Basic interpreter, 
and eliminates a tiresome and 
often discouraging series of 
cassette loads and reloads just to 
test a program. 

Z-Bug, the third part of 
EDTASM-Plus, is like a T-Bug 
whose IQ was beefed up by some 
miracle drug! Z-Bug is a 



monitor, a program that lets you 
look into the TRS-80's memory 
locations and change them if 
needed. Use Z-Bug to run your 
assembled machine-language 
program, see what it does, make 
corrections and try again, set 
breakpoints, and jump back to 
EDTASM-Plus and the source 
program. 

Z-Bug goes beyond T-Bug in 
that it displays program steps as 
mnemonics rather than simple 
byte-by-byte hex numbers. It's 
like a line-by-line disassembler, 
and because Z-Bug stays resi- 
dent with your source program 
and EDTASM, you can reference 
locations to be examined with 
Z-Bug using your own symbols 
rather than specific hex memory 
locations. 

With Z-Bug, you can have 
eight breakpoints in your pro- 
gram, and you don't have to fix 
a breakpoint after it's reached, 
as you do with T-Bug. Z-Bug 
also lets you step through tour 
programs by single steps, which 
is a lot easier than trying to test 
a program on the fly at microsec- 
ond speeds. It's great for looking 
at the TRS-80's ROM sub- 
routines and the program 
routines in the reserved RAM 
areas, so you can learn 
something of how Basic does 
what it does. 

The instruction handbook is 
as excellent as the software 
itself. Microsoft even included a 
notice of a couple of obscure 
bugs that would arise in tricky 
assemblies, and tells you how to 
use Z-Bug to make the correc- 
tions to EDTASM-Plus and 
punch yourself a corrected tape. 
EDTASM-Plus obviously 
represents a huge amount of 
work by its programmers and 
Microsoft. 



67 



SOFTWARE 



(Microsoft, 10700 Northup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98004; now 
available from Tandy/Radio 
Shack for $34.95.) 

Chris Gundlach 
October 1981 

* -^ * V2 
INTASM 2.0 
Singular Systems 
Model I and III 

Part of the difficulty of learn- 
ing to program in Assembly lan- 
guage is that such a large first 
step must be taken. A program- 
ming aspirant must first gain at 
least a mild familiarity with 
Assembly mnemonics from liter- 
ature, then purchase, for a hefty 
price, an assembler and learn its 
operation and syntax. 

Enter Singular Systems with 
INTASM, a mini- Assembly- 
language development system. 
INTASM is composed of two 
machine-language modules: 
ASMl~a Basic editor and As- 
sembly interpreter that recog- 
nizes a limited subset of Z80 
Assembly-language source state- 
ments—and ASM2, a mini-as- 
sembler that accepts the same 
source instructions as ASMl and 
assembles them into memory for 
subsequent execution. 

Three versions of this pro- 
gram— IK, 32K, and 48K— are 
supplied on tape (they can be 
dumped to disk) in Level II for- 
mat. The programs are run by 
loading one of them into your 
machine and entering Level II or 
Disk Basic. Reserve memory so 
Basic doesn't stomp on the 
machine-code module stored in 
high memory. 

INTASM has no new editing 
commands to learn— the same 
old Basic ones are used. There 



are only 54 of the Z80's more 
than 700 mnemonic codes to 
learn, but you do have the op- 
tion of executing other instruc- 
tions if you want to enter their 
machine codes. 

You are not limited to using 
only hexadecimal numbers; 
INTASM accepts base- 10 con- 
stants. You can reference in- 
structions by jumping to or call- 
ing a line number instead of a 
memory location. This makes 
up, in part, for labels not being 
supported. Once your program is 
written in ASMl, it can be run 
by simply entering the Basic 
command. Run. 

ASMl's Step-On instruction 
executes the program one step 
at a time, letting you follow each 
instruction's effect on the regis- 
ters. This not only helps in de- 
bugging, but it's also about the 
fastest and easiest way to gain 
familiarity with each Z80 in- 
struction's function. 

Once you have gained some 
experience programming with 
ASMl, you can get the feel of 
working with an assembler by 
using ASM2. You use the same 
mnemonics, but this time you 
are required to assemble your 
program before running it. 

There are two sides to every 
coin. With all the advantages 
INTASM has, there are a num- 
ber of drawbacks as well. It is 
definitely easy to use, but the 
very features that make it simple 
also limit its power. The most 
obvious of these features is the 
limited number of mnemonic 
codes it accepts; 54 out of over 
700 is a very small subset. 

There are many unsupported 
Z80 functions. For example, it 
recognizes LDIR, but you cannot 
use LD BCNN or LD DE.NN to 



68 



EDITOR/ASSEMBLERS 



load the BC or DE registers. 
Since LDIR's operation depends 
on the contents of these regis- 
ters, and there is no single in- 
struction to load either of them, 
LDIR loses a lot of its ordinary 
ease of operation. Although it is 
very convenient for debugging 
purposes to assemble to mem- 
ory, INT ASM does not have the 
ability to assemble to disk. This 
prevents you from using your 
Assembly-language routines in- 
dependently from INT ASM. 

ASM2 limits the user to only 
1,900 bytes of machine code and 
80 bytes of stack space. Al- 
though there is quite a bit you 
can do within this limit, it is 
much smaller than that allowed 
by ordinary assemblers. 

Since INT ASM seems to be de- 
signed primarily as an aid for 
Basic programmers to learn to 
write their first programs in As- 
sembly language, these limita- 
tions are not as severe as they 
might at first appear. Once you 
are familiar with the subset of 
mnemonics, and their effects on 
the registers and flags, the oper- 
ation of the ASM2 assembler, 
and the use of break points to 
debug Assembly-language pro- 
grams, you can set aside the pro- 
gram and purchase an assem- 
bler and an interpretive moni- 
tor/disassembler such as 
TASMON or Macro-MON. 

INT ASM is an excellent pro- 
gramming aid that definitely 
helps beginners taking their first 
few steps toward becoming the 
Assembly-language superstars of 
tomorrow. For $20, it is well 
worth its price. 

(Singular Systems, 810 Strat- 
ford, Sidney, OH 45365; $20.) 

Joel Benjamin 
September 1982 



-^ ^ ^ y2 

MZAL 

Computer Applications 

Unlimited 

Model I or III 

The MZAL (Modular Z80 
Assembly Language) editor/ 
assembler is for disk systems on- 
ly. The package includes a thick 
manual in a large three-ring 
binder and a diskful of pro- 
grams, including a full-screen 
text editor, an assembler, a link- 
ing loader, several demonstra- 
tion programs, and a small but 
useful library of assembler 
routines. 

The manual doesn't teach 
Assembly-language program- 
ming, and it expects some 
sophistication on your part. 
Beginners can use it, but they 
won't appreciate the more ad- 
vanced features. The manual in- 
cludes a Z80 technical manual 
that covers the Z80 commands 
in detail. But, the manual has 
one glaring problem—no index. 
This is the only major error I 
found in the entire package. 

MZAL is a modular system 
that promotes modular program- 
ming. You write programs using 
a full-screen text editor, assem- 
ble them using a separate 
assembler, and link them 
together using a separate linking 
loader. Your Assembly-language 
programs are limited only by a 
30,000-byte symbol table, or on- 
line disk storage. 

Release 2.0 provides several 
programming options: changing 
Assembly source programs from 
one assembler format to another, 
eight-character labels, recursive 
and symbolic substitutive macro 
constructs, conditional assem- 
bly, linking after assembly with 
linking loader, and specifying 



69 



SOFTWARE 



ORG of object-code linking time. 

The TXEDIT program is a full- 
screen editor that does not sup- 
port macro key definitions and 
does not take lowercase input. 
However, TXEDIT lets you in- 
sert as many lines as you need 
before two lines. 

With the various commands in 
TXEDIT, you can search for any 
string and optionally change it to 
any other string, you can 
renumber your program, or copy 
or move single lines or blocks of 
lines much easier than with the 
normal EDTASM or Basic line 
editor. 

MZAL's multipass assembler 
ASMBLR takes the Assembly- 
language text file you created 
with TXEDIT and assembles it 
into executable Z80 object code 
or into a relocatable module for 
the linking loader. The MZAL 
assembler accepts the standard 
Z80 opcodes. It also supports a 
variety of operation codes, not 
standard for the Z80, that set 
assembler options and control 
how the assembler generates 
the code. 

A linker is a program that 
takes CMD machine-language 
modules and links them together 
into a single program. It lets you 
relocate a program without hav- 
ing to reassemble it. These 
features are accomplished 
through an /RLD file. It contains 
all the needed information for 
the linker to process the 
machine-language program. 

Without a linker, you must 
reassemble the entire program 
each time you want to test it. 
With a linker, you can keep 
/CMD and their associated /RLD 
files on disk, and link them into 
your programs without reas- 
sembling them. 

The LEXCONV program is in- 



cluded on Release 2 of MZAL. It 
lets you read disk files created 
by other assemblers and con- 
verts any of four file formats 
{MZAL, Apparat EDTASM, 
Macro-80, or unnumbered 
ASCII) to any other of the four. 

LEXCONV is menu-driven and 
easy to use. It loads the entire 
text file into memory and then 
processes it. It doesn't let you 
swap disks but begins Avriting 
the output file immediately. This 
is a slight fault. 

The TXEDIT program fits into 
32K. The manual provides infor- 
mation for using the linker to 
modify it to reside in the top 
of48K. 

If you are a casual Assembly- 
language coder, do not buy this 
package. It is expensive, and, ex- 
cept for the text editor, its most 
powerful features will remain 
unused for a long while. How- 
ever, if you write programs in 
which the Assembly-language 
source code exceeds memory, 
or other constraints demand 
that you write it in modular 
form, then MZAL is well worth 
the cost. 

(Computer Applications 
Unlimited, P.O. Box 214, Dept 
ABM, Rye, NY 10580; $149.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
October 1982 



SDS80C Editor/ 
Assembler/Monitor 
The Micro Works 
Color Computer 

Anyone interested in develop- 
ing software for a 6809-based 
microcomputer system will be 
interested in The Micro Works' 
editor/assembler/monitor 
package. Its price includes the 



70 



EDITOR/ASSEMBLERS 



software on a ROM pack car- 
tridge, a completely documented 
41 -page manual, and an 
MC6809-MC6809E microproces- 
sor reference card. 

The editor is screen oriented. 
What appears on the display is 
what is in the text buffer. The 
editor constantly displays the 
amount of RAM left in the buffer, 
in decimal, at the top right cor- 
ner of the screen. Since the pro- 
gram is located at hex address 
COOO in ROM, most of the RAM 
memory is available for use by 
the text buffer. 

Functions supported include 
finding strings, moving and 
copying blocks of text, and 
reading and writing files to and 
from cassettes. 

The assembler accepts source 
statements in standard 6809 
Assembly language, and pro- 
duces object code to tape or 
memory. It expects the source 
statements to be in memory in 
the format used by the editor. 
Source and object code can also 
be directed to the screen or the 
printer. 

The manual does not go into 
great detail when it comes to 
6809 Assembly-language pro- 
gramming. It assumes you are 
femiliar with that language. 

Some of its features and op- 
tions are: support of 6800 in- 
structions for cross assembly, 
local labels, conditional 
assembly, and pause/break/ 
speed control of listings. 

Under control of the monitor, 
you may move the cursor up, 
down, left, or right to display the 
contents of memory. Hex data 
may be entered or changed in 
this mode. 

The manual contains some 
useful information including pro- 
gramming hints and techniques. 



Appendix 2 contains information 
on the Basic ROM entry points, 
with some of the more useful 
subroutine calls listed. Appendix 
3 contains information and pro- 
grams on timing loops, and Ap- 
pendix 4 contains infonnation 
on interfacing a printer to the 
Color Computer. 

The Software Development 
System SDS80C is quite a useful 
software package. 
(The Micro Works, P.O. Box 
1110, Del Mar, CA 92014; Color 
Computer. $89.95.) 

Howard Berenbon 
June/July 1982 



^ ^ -^ V2 
TRS-80 Disk 
Editor/ Assembler 
Tandy/Eadio Shack 
Model I 

The Disk Editor/ Assembler 
package (catalog 26-2202) in- 
cludes features that link together 
Assembly-language and Fortran 
programs. It also includes a 
library of Fortran subroutines 
that can be accessed from As- 
sembly language. 

The package has five com- 
ponents: an editor (EDIT), a 
macro assembler (M80), a cross- 
reference processor (CREF80), a 
linking loader (L80), amd a For- 
tran library (FORLIB). 

EDIT is a stand-alone program 
rather than a combination editor 
and assembler as is EDTASM. 
EDIT can be used on files 
created by it, Basic files in the 
ASCII format, and any other files 
in a suitable format. EDIT makes 
disk accesses from time to time 
during the editing session, 
because it doesn't keep the en- 
tire file being edited in memory 



71 



SOFTWARE 



all at once. You can return to 
DOS by exiting and writing out 
the edited file, or by quitting and 
discarding changes (very useful 
if you've made a dreadful error). 

EDIT has all the capabilities of 
EDTASM and the Basic editor, 
although some of the commands 
are different. It also has some 
new features and additions to 
the old ones. Line numbers can 
go up to 99,999, if desired. In ad- 
dition, the file can be broken into 
pages, using special commands 
to insert and delete page marks. 
Line numbering can start over in 
each page, providing for many 
more lines or for a printed listing 
with page breaks at points other 
than the bottom of a page. 

For insert and replace com- 
mands, a temporary line num- 
ber increment can be specified. 
Ranges can be specified in terms 
of a number of lines as well as 
by beginning and ending line 
numbers. The break key is 
echoed on the screen as a $. 
Editing within a line allows you 
to search for a series of 
characters as well as a single 
character. The Find command 
can locate and display more 
than one occurrence of the 
desired string with a single com- 
mand. The Substitute command 
provides for changing a given 
string to another string for any 
specified range of lines. 

The immediately obvious dif- 
ference between EDIT and ED- 
TASM is that EDIT is a stand- 
alone program. When you have 
created or changed a file, you 
must return to DOS and execute 
a separate program, M80, to per- 
form an assembly. This is 
somewhat time-consuming. 

There are a number of things 
about the editor that are ir- 
ritating. First, the files con- 



stmcted by the editor waste disk 
space. The line numbers are 
stored as 5-byte fields; if the up- 
per limit for line numbering 
were set at 65535, the line 
number could fit in 2 bytes. I 
found that a file that was written 
under the old EDTASM memory- 
image format and used five 
granules of space took seven 
granules under the new format. 
That's 10 more sectors— a whole 
track! 

Also, the file handling by EDIT 
is quite awkward. When you are 
making changes to an existing 
file, you must save the new ver- 
sion under a different file 
specification. This is done so 
that you have a back-up of the 
original file. It certainly con- 
tributes to using up the available 
disk space. 

Third, in a lengthy editing ses- 
sion, you might want to save 
your revised version at different 
points so that a machine or 
power failure won't require you 
to repeat all your work. Each 
time you do this, a new file must 
be created. 

The default file extension for 
the macro assembler is MAC. It 
would be nice if the editor used 
the same default, but it doesn't. 
Also, M80 accepts lines of up to 
132 characters. EDIT will create 
and process 255 characters in a 
line. This could cause a problem, 
but you are unlikely to create a 
line longer than 132 characters. 

The manual states that an 
insufficient-memory error can 
occur under certain conditions. I 
think that the editor should have 
some means of informing the 
user when memory starts to fill 
up. I also think there should be 
ways to invoke the editor and 
process more than one file, to ap- 
pend another file to the one you 



EDITOR/ASSEMBLERS 



are editing, and to read and pro- 
cess existing EDTASM source 
files. 

The macro assembler is the 
portion of the Disk Edi- 
tor/Assembler package that con* 
verts the source language 
module into relocatable form. 
The relocatable module can then 
be processed by the loader to 
create an executable program. 

Commands to M80 consist of 
file names and switches. They 
are the object (relocatable) file, 
the listing file, and the source 
file. The switches are special in- 
structions to the assembler. 
They tell it to produce a cross- 
reference file, list addresses in 
octal or hexadecimal (the 
default), and assemble 8080 or 
Z80 mnemonics (Z80 is the 
default). M80 supports the stan- 
dard Z80 and 8080 mnemonics. 

The most important feature is 
the ability of M80 to assemble a 
module in relocatable form, or 
without regard to its eventual 
memory location. This feature 
allows you to separate instruc- 
tions and data. If you have a pro- 
gram consisting of three 
modules, and the middle one 
needs to have something added 
to it, the other two don't have to 
be reassembled. The program 
can be linked together again by 
the loader after the middle 
module has been reassembled, 
and the third module will follow 
the second one at the proper ad- 
dress. M80 also has several 
pseudo-operations that facilitate 
modular programming. 

The macros are another big 
feature of the macro assembler. 
A macro is a model; it is a series 
of instructions that can be 
placed in a program at several 
different points by using the 
name of the macro as an opera- 



^^^^ 


^^? 


^"'V'~*xx' 


^^fe 


^^^ 


^^^# 


/^ ^^ 


^^M- 


^^^hs^ 


^fe 


W /M M 


W^^m^'^im^ 



tion code. The macro itself is 
written and placed in the pro- 
gram prior to the point at which 
it will first be used. M80 has 
three other functions similar to 
the macros. They are all 
statements that provide for the 
material between them and the 
ENDM to be repeated several 
times. 

Three pseudo-operations are 
available for controlling the 
listing produced by the assem- 
bler, and M80 can produce a 
cross-reference listing. This pro- 
gram processes the cross- 
reference file and creates a 
listing file. The listing file has 
the cross-reference listing at the 
end, showing all symbols in al- 
phabetical order, with all refer- 
ences to them. 

M80 is a stand-alone program. 
This is a disadvantage, since 
when assembly errors are detect- 
ed, you must exit from M80, ex- 
ecute EDIT to correct the errors, 
then execute M80 again to 
reassemble the program. 

The assembler takes two 
passes to complete its work. Er- 
rors are displayed on both 
passes. The assembly is some- 



73 



SOFTWARE 



what slower than the EDTASM 
assembly because of the disk ac- 
cesses. The source program is 
read from disk, and both the 
listing and object files are writ- 
ten on disk. The manual could 
stand some improvement, and it 
is somewhat limiting to have 
macros defined only internally. 
Also, the assembler generates 
successive line feeds in some 
places. 

The purpose of the Linking 
Loader (L80) is to construct an 
executable program from one or 
more relocatable object files 
created by the assembler. Com- 
mands consist of file names and 
switches. The file names used in 
a command tell the loader what 
files are to be loaded into 
memory. The switches are, in 
reality, special commands to the 
loader. 

Some of the features of L80 in- 
clude relocation, resolution of ex- 
ternal references, separation of 
Instructions and data, loading at 
specified addresses, restart, con- 
struction of a disk file, memory 
map, and execution after 
loading. 

L80 also has several shortcom- 
ings. Immediate execution some- 
times failed when I tried it. The 
display of data and program 
areas seems backwards in some 
ways; since CSEG is the as- 
sumed option in the source pro- 
gram, it seems that the loader 
should print the word program 
rather than data when loading 
the program. When you specify 
a starting address for data you 
must also specify one for the pro- 
gram if you are loading several 
modules, each of which has both 
program and data areas. You are 
not given the option of printing a 
memory map. Finally, there is 
no provision for accepting com- 



mands from a source other than 
the keyboard. 

There are some improvements 
I would like to see made to the 
package. These include reducing 
the amount of space required by 
source and listing files, changing 
the file handling in the editor so 
that new files don't necessarily 
have to be created each time 
changes are made, and revising 
the manual. I am happy with the 
package's features, especially 
the linking loader and the 
modular programming features 
of the assembler. 
(TRS-80 Disk Editor/Assembler 
is sold by Tandy/Radio Shack, 
Fort Worth, TX 76102; $34.95.) 
Guerri F. Stevens 
February 1981 



"EDUCATION- 



Dilithium Tapes 
Dilithium Press 
Model I 

Dilithium Press has published 
many microcomputer books, 
and as far as I know, this is their 
first venture into the software 
field; they have made a good 
beginning. All five tapes are for 
the 16K Level 11 TRS-80, 
although most of them will run 
in 4K. 

Tape 1 is an applications tape. 
It contains six programs that 
assist you in various areas of 
your personal life. The programs 
are Biorhythm, Checkbook, 
Decide, I^an, Mileage, and Ques- 
tionnaire. 

Decide is the jewel in this col- 



g €^ 



EDUCATION 



lection. It helps you reach a deci- 
sion on a course of action or on 
the purchase of some item. The 
best part of the program is that 
it forces you to look more deeply 
into a decision before making it. 
Questionnaire would most in- 
terest teachers as it grades 
multiple-choice exams or ques- 
tionnaires. 

Tape 2 is an educational tape 
that includes programs for all 
ages. These include Arithmetic, 
Flashcard, Metric, Numbers, 
Tachist, and Vocab. 

Tachist helps improve reading 
skills by flashing phrases on the 
screen. Every time you get a 
phrase correct, the next phrase 
is flashed at a quicker speed. 
There should be more practice at 
each level before the speed is in- 
creased. This package should 
help students with their 
schoolwork as well as get them 
interested in using the computer 
for something other than games. 

Tape 3 consists of three 
games: Decode (Mastermind 
with a new face). Groan (a dice 
game), and Wari (a game of cap- 
ture between you and the com- 
puter). In Wari, you begin with 
four stones in each of 12 
squares. You move the stones 
around the board, attempting to 
catch the computer's pieces 
while it tries to capture yours. 
This is the best game in the 
package. 

Mathematics is the theme of 
Tape 4. The programs have 
specialized functions. Curve fits 
a polynomial function to a set of 
data pairs. Diffeqn figures dif- 
ferential equations. Graph plots 
the behavior of a math function. 
Integrate finds the numerical in- 
tegral of a function. Simeqn 
solves a set of simultaneous 
linear equations. Stats analyzes 



a set of numerical data and 
displays several statistical 
parameters that describe it. 

Tape 5 consists of graphics 
display and miscellaneous pro- 
grams, and it is more for 
demonstration than practical ap* 
plication. The techniques 
demonstrated in these programs 
will be helpful when someone 
asks you, "But what can your 
computer do?" They will also 
help the budding Basic program- 
mer to better understand the 
capabilities of Level II Basic. 

The documentation is slender, 
but the tapes are self-prompting 
so you shouldn't have problems 
with them. Most of them are also 
described in a book from 
Dilithium Press called 32 Basic 
Programs for the TRS-80 Com- 
puter (Level II) by Rugg and 
Feldman. 

(Dilithium Press, P.O. Box 92, 
Forest Grove, OR 97116. 
Dilithium Tapes are now 
available only in 32 Basic Pro- 
grams for the TRS-80 Computer, 
$19.95.) 

Rod Hallen 
April 1980 



Disk Instruction Course 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model III 

The Disk Instruction Course is 
a step-by-step guide in the use of 
TRSDOS and Disk Basic. It 
comes with four disks, each with 
one lesson containing six to 11 
parts. The format of the course 
is a series of short coniments 
followed by a few questions. If 
the questions are answered cor- 
rectly, you proceed. 

Although the content of these 



75 



SOFTWARE 



lessons is to the point, they are 
too simplistic. Neither by 
description nor through practical 
experience do they expand upon 
anything described in the 
original manual. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $29.95.) 

Robert L. Zeppa 
November 1980 



"^ -^ "^ 

Doctor and Fetch 
Omicron Software 
Model I 

Doctor and Fetch demonstrate 
the field of artificial intelligence. 
Their documentation is good, 
but loading is touchy. Doctor 
takes the part of a 
psychotherapist and asks you 
questions about your problems. 
The theory behind the program 
is good, but this implementation 
gets lost quickly if the program 
doesn't receive exactly what it is 
looking for. Fetch allows you to 
make declarative statements, 
which are stored, and then you 
can ask questions relating to the 
stored information. 

Both programs are interesting 
and demonstrate some possible 
future computer applications. I 
do, however, feel that they are 
overpriced, and I think that most 
buyers will feel the same. Both 
programs on one tape for about 
$7 to $8 would be more realistic. 



I -VyV 

I— —AAA*' 
>— — AAAf 




(Doctor and Fetch, once sold by 
Omicron Software, P.O. Box 
2547, Sepulveda, CA 91343, are 
no longer available.) 

Rod Hallen 
January 1980 

Eliza 

Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I, II, and III 

Danger! This program can be 
hazardous to your mental 
health. This warning should be 
emblazoned across Eliza's in- 
stnACtion pamphlet. 

Eliza is an interesting exercise 
in primitive artificial intelligence. 
The program simulates a 
Rogerian or a nondirective 
psychotherapist during an initial 
interview with a patient. 

The program picks up on key 
words and sentence phrases. As 
the key words increase, the con- 
versation becomes more per- 
sonal until many feel as if they 
are communicating with another 
person instead of with a struc- 
tured collection of bytes in a 
computer. 

Several scientists, including 
Dr. Carl Sagan, have predicted 
that Eliza is the forerunner of an 
automated form of psycho- 
therapy; however. Dr. Joseph 
Weizenbaum, who wrote the 
original Eliza, disputes that. In 
fact, he is disturbed at the ten- 
dency of people to humanize it. 

The flip side of the program 
tape contains an Eliza that 
routes its output through the 
Radio Shack Speech Syn- 
thesizer, and I swear that the 
synthesizer develops a Viennese 
accent when Talking Eliza is 
running. 

Eliza makes her home at hex 



76 



EDUCATION 



5000 to 7800 with the entry 
point at 77F2 right above the 
Level II reserved RAM. and 
where the DOS is stationed. Disk 
operators will have to relocate 
the program before use. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $14.95.) 

John Warren 
April 1981 

•^ "^ "^ 

Fractional Sound 

The Innovative Penguin 

Model I and III 

Fractional Sound is a frac- 
tional drill program for the 
Model I and Model III with sound 
(by connecting the auxiliary plug 
to an amplifier). The program 
allows you to set parameters for: 
the type of operation (add, sub- 
tract, multiply, divide, or mixed 
types), maximum size of 
numerator and denominator, 
whether mixed fractions are 
allowed, and the number of 
students involved; it will also 
allow you to put in your own 
problems, if you want. 

The program generates easy- 
to-read large numbers on the 
screen, and a random tone tick- 
ing sound while it's waiting, as 
well as a bugle charge when 
your answer is correct. If you get 
a problem wrong (it informs 
you), the program goes into its 
waiting mode. It will explain 
step-by-step how to do the prob- 
lem as long as you press a key 
each time to continue. One nice 
feature is that a correct but un- 
simplified answer is not counted 
as wrong. If you combine the 
fractions correctly but neglect to 
simplify, you are told to simplify 
your answer and continue. 

The only problem with this 



program is that the format for 
putting in the answer is ex- 
tremely difficult. You have to 
identify which of the eight posi- 
tions each number of your 
answer goes into (two for the 
whole number, three for the 
denominator). If you and your 
kids can get used to this, then 
the rest is easy and enjoyable. 
(The Innovative Penguin of 
Harvey, LA 70059, could not be 
reached for an update. Frac- 
tional Sound originally sold for 
$14.95 cassette, $18.95 disk.) 

Mary S. Gasiorowski 
September 1981 



■^ "^ "^ 

Heathkit Assembly Language 

Programming Course 

The Heath Company 

Model I 

Heathkit offers an 8080-based 
training course (Model EC 1 108) 
on Assembly programming for 
$50. It makes no assumptions 
about previous knowledge and 
starts with the absolute basics of 
digital computer programming. 
It is well arranged and takes 
everything in nice, easy steps. 
With previous courses I lacked 
the opportunity to ask questions. 
The Heathkit course answered 
those questions before I had to 
ask them. 

The course is divided into 10 
concise lessons. Chapter 1 is an 
introduction to digital com- 
puters. After completing chapter 
1 you are started on your way to 
building a working Assembly 
program. Each chapter in- 
troduces new instructions, ex- 
plains how they work, and ex- 



__ 



SOFTWARE 



actly what they can do. They are 
then incorporated into the pro- 
gram you are building. You are 
led along the logic trail and learn 
the mathematics behind what is 
happening without being aware 
of it. Along with the lessons is a 
workbook that is indispensable. 

The meat of each lesson is the 
course material. Any part of a 
lesson that introduces a new or 
exceptionally important concept 
is highlighted by its own sub- 
section. 

In many sections, you are 
asked to write the required pro- 
gram section without help. The 
lesson will then show how the 
author would write the program, 
but stresses that as long as your 
program works it is correct. An 
added benefit is an excellent 
Assembly number base conver- 
sion program and a monitor pro- 
gram that simulates CPU opera- 
tion so you can see what is going 
on in the computer. 

Also, each lesson has an ap- 
pendix. This is usually a listing 
of the program the student is 
working on as it should appear 
up to that point. The appendices 
also contain subroutines that are 
of interest in the program that is 
under construction. When you 
get the course, you also receive a 
sealed final exam that is as com- 
prehensive as the course. Once 
you finish the exam, you can 
mail it to Heathkit and, if you 
pass, receive education credits. 

There are two major problems 
with the course. First of all, it is 
not Z80 Assembly, but 
8080/8085 Assembly. The 
mnemonics are different and a 
compiler that handles 8080 is 
necessary. Also, since you are 
likely to be working on a com- 
puter other than a Heathkit, you 
will find some incompatibilities. 

78 



The course points out what they 
will be, but you must find the 
solutions. Examples include 
video output and keyboard scan. 
The answer is the same; simply 
use a ROM routine or write your 
own subroutine. 

Heathkit certainly deserves 
credit for publishing this fine 
course, but the real credit goes 
to the author, Willard I. Nico. 
(The Heath Co., Benton Harbor, 
MI 49022; $49.95.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
December 1981 

"^pf w w 

The Individual Study Center 
TYC Software 
Model I 

Designed for children and 
adults, the Individual Study 
Center from TYC (Teach 
Yourself by Computer) requires 
a TRS-80 Level II with 16K. TYC 
states that the course en- 
courages "users to teach 
themselves using the computer 
and to improve their skills in the 
subject areas of their choice," 

Subject tapes include 
American History, Geography, 
Mathematics, Arithmetic, World 
History, Languages, and Spell- 
ing. The fields of study are 
broken down into different levels 
of aptitude. 

The Individual Study Center 
includes four cassette tapes, two 
of which contain six graphic ac- 
tivity programs, the demonstra- 
tion tape, a blank cassette with a 
maintenance program for mak- 
ing your own subject tapes, and 
a user's manual. 

The demonstration tape in the 
package is a "random sampling" 
of questions included on other 
subject data tapes produced by 



EDUCATION 



TYC Software, and the questions 
are also aimed at different skill 
levels. 

TYC says each subject tape 
contains 80 questions and 
answers. However, the 
demonstration tape had only 40 
questions and 40 answers. 
Maybe that adds up to 80 for 
TYC's documentation depart- 
ment, but it doesn't for me. 

With this software, you need 
to purchase more than one data 
tape or be willing to make your 
own with the maintenance pro- 
gram. Even though there are six 
game programs, using the 
original equipment data tape for 
all of them is tedious, since the 
questions and answers are 
always the same. 

The price of the Individual 
Study Center is steep, since only 
a random-sampling demon- 
stration tape comes with the 
package. Overall, the graphics 
and variety of activity programs 
in the package make the games 
fun to play, provided the user 
has enough data tapes to sustain 
his or her interest. 
(TYC Software, Genesco, NY 
14454; $49.95 cassette, $69.95 
disk.) 

Emily A. Gibbs 
April 1980 

•^ ^ ^ 
Regression II 
Dynacomp 
Model I 

Dynacomp's Regression II is, 
as far as I know, the only non- 
linear regression program com- 
mercially available for any 
microcomputer. This program is 
one-dimensional; that is, it can 
handle one independent variable 
and one dependent variable, 



The Dynacomp program uses 
the steepest-descent method, 
and, therefore, is reasonably 
stable in its convergence to the 
optimal parameters. It can take a 
long time to converge if you 
choose the wrong function, the 
data is noisy, or there are a large 
number of parameters to be 
fitted. 

The documentation that ac- 
companies the program is 
mediocre. It does mention the 
method and algorithm used with 
a certain amount of com- 
pleteness, but it is only 
moderately useful. In the space 
used it would have been even 
more educational to delineate 
the routines used and their rela- 
tionship to the algorithm. 

The documentation mentions 
that there is one functional form 
that this program is not good at 
regressing, but not what it is. It 
turns out that polynomial regres- 
sion is not well regressed. The 
examples are run with com- 
ments and cover everything that 
is in the program, which serves 
to reinforce your understanding 
of operation. 

The program comes on both 
disk and tape. I bought the tape 
version and adapted it for se- 
quential disk files. It runs nicely 
and even has the capability of 
editing the source file. Editing 
consists of changing, deleting or 
inserting data points. The pro- 
gram lists the data by page so 
that it will not scroll. 

In conclusion, Dynacomp 
Regression II is a useful, power- 
ful, nori4inear regression pro- 
gram despite its less-thari- 
optimal implementation. Wliile 
correct in its mathematical 
usage, many small, minor ad- 
justments need to be made to 
the program. Even so, it is the 



79 



SOFTWARE 



only program of its kind current- 
ly available, and is well worth 
the asking price. 
(Dynacomp, Pittsford, NY 
14534, could not be reached for 
an update.) 

Bruce Douglass 
September 1981 



■k -^ in: 

REMASSEM-1 

An Introduction to TRS-80 

Assembly Language 

Programming 

Joseph E. Willis 

Remsoft Inc. 

Model 1, 11, or III 

I have just finished the 
REMASSEM-1 ALP course, and 
now feel that I am on the road to 
becoming an Assembly-language 
programmer. This course con- 
sists of eight cassette tapes, a 
text book, and a manual. Five of 
these tapes contain 10 
40-minute lessons by Joe Willis. 
His lecture is leisurely, detailed 
and starts with descriptions of 
the basics— binary, octal, and 
hex number systems. His occa- 
sional humor is a welcome relief 
from what at times can be a dif- 
ficult subject. As usual, a lot of 
important information is given 
verbally by the teacher, and is 
not on display, so taking notes is 
necessary. 

The display cassettes are of 
very good quality. All the 
displays, except the example 
programs and the last lecture, 
are in large characters (32 per 
line). You can even direct the 
display to start over at section 
headings in a menu without 
reloading the tape. Also included 
is the third printing of Barden's 
TRS-80 Assembly Language 



Programming book as the text. 
The course manual describes 
how to load and run the display 
tapes, and has flowcharts and 
source Assembly-code listings 
for two programs. The back part 
of the manual contains 13 pages 
from the Zilog Z80 CPU Tech- 
nical Manual listing the in- 
stmctions in grouped form, han- 
dier than the alphabetic listing 
in the Radio Shack 
Editor/ Assembler book. 

To key in programs you will 
need an editor/assembler that 
uses the Zilog instructions, and 
T-Bug or DeBug (not supplied). 
The final summary is full of ex- 
cellent design suggestions, such 
as forming a design before 
coding begins. Willis' list of com- 
mon errors should be in front of 
you while you code and while 
you debug. 

I benefited considerably from 
this course. It seems to be about 
the most painless way to learn 
Assembly-language program- 
ming. I think that for the be- 
ginner this is a good way to 
start, and it provides a good 
foundation. 

(An improved REMASSEM-III is 
sold by Remsoft Inc., 571 East 
St., Euclid, OH 441 19; $74.95 
cassette, $79.95 disk.) 

Jim King 
December 1981 



■^ -^ -^ 

Space Waste Race 
Storybooks of the Future 
Model I or III 

Space Waste Race is an in- 
teractive computerized story- 
book. Based on the idea of send- 
ing our excess garbage into 
space to be rid of it, the program 



80 



EDUCATION 



is extremely interactive, and is a 
novel idea. 

The program has good and 
bad points. The graphics 
capability of the TRS-80 is not as 
fine as an Apple or Color Com- 
puter. 

The program allows for a good 
deal of manipulation. The com- 
plete story can be viewed 
without interruption, or in- 
dividual pages can repeated as 
many times as you like. You can 
practice moving the moons. By 
pressing the arrows or bracket 
keys, the face of the man in the 
moon appears to shake, nod, or 
look around. 

The program suggests that the 
program is designed for 
nonreaders, but the nine-line 
story includes such vocabulary 
as "collecting," "jealous," and 
"imagine." In addition, the on- 
screen instructions are beyond 
the young reader. Perhaps the 
author intended an adult to read 
the story with a child. 

After a cute title page with 
graphics and a musical theme, 
the program goes to the menu: 
Storybook; Look, Nod & Shake; 
Funtime; and End. Storybook 
and Funtime proceed to other 
menus. Storybook allows you to 
run through the story— the 
whole thing, individual pages, 
just the text, or just the title 
page. Look, Nod & Shake lets 
you play with moons, making 
them look in various directions. 

All the games reward equally 
for correct and incorrect 
responses; the moon nods for 
correct answers, and shakes its 
head from side to side for incor- 
rect ones. If there was more ac- 
tion for a correct answer, the 
child might be more inclined to 
find the right response. 



Space Waste Race could be 
improved in many ways— the 
games could be more developed 
and better designed, a more age- 
appropriate story could be 
chosen, and the program could 
be friendlier by asking for your 
name when you start. However, 
the idea is an interesting one. 
Space Waste Race may be the 
Storybook of the future, but it 
will never replace parents 
reading to their children. 
(Storybooks of the Future, 527 
41st Ave., San Francisco, CA 
941 21 ; $1 9.95 1 6K cassette, 
$24.95 32K disk.) 

Mary Gasiorowski 
May 1982 



Step-By-Step 
Program Design Inc. 
Model I 

Step-By-Step is a Basic pro- 
gram that teaches you how to 
program in Basic. It has 
outstanding documentation, and 
it begins with the assumption 
that the student knows only how 
to turn on the TRS-80. 

The course is divided into 10 
two-part lessons. From a simple 
Print "HI", through arrays and 
graphics, to complex programs, 
all Level II commands and 
statements are exercised. 

The course is for anyone who 
wants to program effectively in 
Basic, and it's the kind of educa- 
tional programming that per- 
sonal computing needs more of. 
(Program Design Inc., 1 1 Idar 
Court, Greenwich, CT 16830. 
Step-By-Step ts no longer 
available.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 



81 



SOFTWARE 



"GAMES' 



■^ W "W w 
Adventure 
Softwin Associates 
Model I 

Gordon Letwin of Softwin 
Associates has produced a rip- 
snorter version of Adventure 
that is almost indistinguishable 
from the original. A player ex- 
plores a giant cave, finds 
treasures, and battles knife- 
wielding dwarves. The computer 
is directed with one- and two- 
word commands. Part of the fun 
is finding out what commands 
the computer accepts and when 
it accepts them. Adventure can- 
not be learned in a few minutes, 
played in half an hour, and 
forgotten in a week. 

The game runs on a 32K, 
single-disk TRS-80. Almost 
every move causes a quick 
search, but the delay is in- 
significant—rarely over a sec- 
ond. The specially designed DOS 
seems to occupy only one sector, 
leaving the rest free for program 
and data. Because of the lengthy 
playing time, a save feature 
allows players to suspend the 
game for later resumption. 

Adventure is attractively 
packaged and comes with a 
clearly written instruction book. 
This is an exceptionally enter- 
taining game, and it should 
enjoy a steady increase in pop- 
ularity. 

(Adventure is sold by Softwin 
Associates, a division of 
Microsoft, 10700 Northup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98004: $29.95.) 

John Warren 
June 1980 



w "W w « 

Air Flight Simulation 
Instant Software 
Model I 

Air Flight Simulation turns 
your monitor into the control 
panel of a small aircraft, and you 
must fly the plane completely by 
instruments. You can even 
decide what type of flight plan to 
follow. 

Unlike many programs, this 
one requires a fair amount of 
thought. Avoid the temptation of 
mnning it first and reading the 
directions later. Read the di- 
rections first; you'll enjoy it 
much more. 

The program monitors alti- 
tude, attitude, air speed (includ- 
ing overstressing the engine), 
and land miles traveled. The 
more I ran the program, the 
more I liked it. This is a program 
that should be run— not talked 
about. 

(Instant Software, Elm St, 
Peterborough, NH 03458; Model 
I and III, 16K, $14.95.) 

Stephen F. Nowak 
April 1980 



w "w "^ "A" 
Alcatraz II 
Spectral Associates 
Color Computer 

Alcatraz II is a beautiful exam- 
ple of the improvements in the 
quality of the products for the 
Color Computer today. It is a 
prison-escape game, where by 
using a combination of skill, 
strategy, and a lot of luck, you 
might get out. As they say in the 
introduction, no one has ever 
escaped from Alcatraz II. The 
game features numerous wings 



82 



GAMES 



(or cell blocks). Your score in- 
creases with each one you make 
it through. Each wing, starting 
with wing number 2, becomes 
progressively harder than the 
one before it. 

The three locked gates be- 
tween you and your exit point 
from the wing are your least- 
serious problem; more serious 
are the laser cannons. Guards 
constantly wander down the 
halls opening gates as they go. 
When they come to an intersec- 
tion, they make a random deci- 
sion as to which way to go. If 
they find themselves in the same 
hall you are in, they will pursue 
you, opening (and leaving open) 
any gates in their way. If they 
catch you, the game is over. The 
guards are not too smart, but 
they outnumber you. 

The fourth wing has no 
guards. It is a man-eating 
minotaur's den. A minotaur is 
bigger and faster than you are. 
Its lair has walls and force fields 
that only minotaurs can go 
through. When a minotaur 
crashes through a wall, he 
destroys it, providing a path you 
can use later. 

This is one game you won't 
master in two or three hours. It 
is a very challenging, well- 
written game that won't cost you 
an arm and a leg. The game is a 
combination of medium- and 
high-resolution graphics. (Your 
character is a small block con- 
taining a stick figure as are the 
guards and minotaurs.) You 
move your character with either 
the arrow keys or Joysticks. The 
color is great and the sound ef- 
fects are super. 

There are some irritating 
points you should be aware of. I 
picked up an I/O error on my 
first attempt to load the game 



and had to load one of the three 
back-up copies. It was an irrita- 
tion, but I was grateful the com- 
pany sent more than one copy of 
the program. Also, if the pro- 
gram loads, then errors after typ- 
ing run, type run again and it 
will probably be fine. If it errors 
again, turn your computer off 
and back on again, type 
PCLEAR 2, reload the program, 
type run, and it should go. This 
bug is not in the program but in 
Radio Shack's Extended Basic 
ROM version 1.0, and it can 
crash a program. 

Another thing: when you 
make it through a wing, you are 
given a score that varies from 
game to game. I haven't been 
able to tell why it varies, or how 
to get the top score. It's no big 
deal. I just can't figure out why 
my wife gets 600 points for go- 
ing through the first wing and I 
get only 450. 

I highly recommend the game, 
and for the price it's a steal. 
(Spectral Associates. 141 Har- 
vard Ave., Tacoma, WA 98466; 
$11.95 cassette. Extended 
Basic, 1 6K required.) 

Rich Petty 
August 1982 



""^i'' "^H"" ^Mr" ^^r 

Alien Defense 

Soft Sector Marketing 

Model I and III 

Alien Defense is based on the 
arcade game Defender, and is 
just as interesting, challenging, 
and addictive. 

The game features different 
types of aliens including: the 
lander is worth 100 points and 
easy to shoot down; the mutant, 
worth 150 points, bounces 



83 



SOFTWARE 



around quickly requiring fast 
reflexes to destroy it; the cruiser 
(one of the most dangerous 
aliens) is worth 200 points and 
can follow your player at incredi- 
ble speed. The 250-point bomber 
is simple to hit, while the pod is 
worth a full 1,000 points. The 
pod has the nasty feature of 
breaking into six smaller aliens 
known as swarmers, which are 
150 points each but very dif- 
ficult to hit. You can also rescue 
a man captured by a lander. 

The Model I version uses let- 
ters and symbols to indicate 
your ship and the different 
aliens. But the Model III version 
uses the special character 
graphics capabilities, which are 
very appropriate and much 
more realistic. The man looks 
like a man rather than the letter 
"I." The other Model III graphics 
are excellent. The moving 
mountains below the spaceship 
are very well done and the laser 
fire from the ship is a smooth, 
straight, thin line. 

Sound is also a big plus. Never 
before have I heard so much 
sound utilized, and the variety of 
sounds within the program 
make it more exciting. The 
sounds have a very human tone. 

The controls are not easy to 
master. They include the 
numbers 1 through 3, the 
numbers 8 through 9, and the 
Enter key and space bar. I found 
it easiest to manage by using my 
left hand on the regular 
keyboard numbers (1-3) and my 
right hand on the keypad 
numbers (8-9). From this posi- 
tion I can access both Enter and 
the space bar. 

I highly recommend Alien 
Defense to Model I and III 
owners. The fast action, exciting 
graphics, and sometimes 



humorous sounds add up to a lot 
of fun. 

(Soft Sector Marketing, P.O. Box 
340, Middlebelt, Garden City, 
MI 481 35; $1 5.95 1 6K cassette, 
$19.95 32K disk. Alien Defense 
is now Joystick compatible.) 

Tim Knight 
August 1982 



* * lir 
Android MM 
80-NW Publishing COo 
Model I 

NIM is an old game that 
presents the players with three 
piles of objects. Each player in 
turn can remove as many ob- 
jects as he likes from any one 
pile. The player who removes 
the last object wins. 

Android NIM is played by the 
standard rules, except that it 
uses androids (robots) as the ob- 
jects. At the start of the game, 
three rows of androids are 
displayed along with an execu- 
tioner for each row. When you 
indicate the row and number of 
objects to be removed, the ex- 
ecutioner looks down the row, 
counts the androids, and shakes 
his head either yes or no to in- 
dicate if the move is possible. 

If it's no, you have to change 
the number. If it's yes, the ex- 
ecutioner looks down his row 
again, raises his phaser, and 
blasts the required number of 
androids into Stardust. 

Once you figure out the 
strategy, you can win the game 
every time. However, it is well 
worth the price just for the 
graphics. Not only do the execu- 
tioners shake their heads, but 
the android's arms, heads, eyes, 
and ears are constantly in mo- 



GAMES 



tion. This is one game program 
that you should have just for 
demonstration purposes, even if 
you're not interested in playing 
the game. 

(80-NW Publishing Co., 3838 S. 
Warner St., Tacoma, WA 
98409. Android NIM is no longer 
available.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 



•^ ^ ^ -yg 

Ants 

New Starship Voyages 

•^ ^ ^ 1/2 

Parsector 8 

•^ ■^ -^ -^ 
Space Ace 2 1 
Synergistic Solar Inc. 
Model I and III 

No matter how good a game is, 
I am not likely to play it more 
than a couple of times if I have 
to struggle through a CLOAD 
whenever I want to relax. 
Synergistic Solar has finally 
answered my pleas; their new 
game package can be transferred 
to disk after a successful load. 

The weakest offering of the lot, 
and the only one I cannot recom- 
mend, is another Trek game 
called New Starship Voyages. 
This is a fairly good program, 
but it has been done before, 
many times, many ways. 

It is a testament to the pro- 
grammer's skills that when I 
loaded Ants I ended up fritter- 
ing away all of yesterday after- 
noon and two hours today on a 
"silly" game. 

Why did I spend eight hours 



playing Ants? Well, it is a visual- 
ly entertaining game. There are 
eight distinct types of ants (two 
sides each having drones, work- 
ers, soldiers, and guards) in addi- 
tion to the immobile queens. 
The mobile ants scurry about on 
the screen in a charming, and 
really quite apt, parody of the 
way real ants move. The sound 
effects are helpful, too. 

Ants ranks high on the "mind- 
less entertainment" scale, being 
a game that you will not have to 
take notes for, that you can 
expect to finish in 10 minutes, 
and that stays busy. But there is 
more to Ants than entertains 
the eye. 

A serious deficiency in the 
game is that the TRS-80 
graphics/letters combinations 
are really not up to displaying 
eight different types of ants; the 
screen is so confusing at first as 
to be meaningless to someone 
new to the game. Late in the bat- 
tle, when the screen is crowded 
with ants, the display often 
lapses into incomprehensibility. 
Also, the game moves too fast. 

For something entirely dif- 
ferent. Space Ace 21 is an ac- 
curate, complex simulation of 
ship-to-ship space combat. It is 
definitely not an arcade game, 
nor is it simple. Without a com- 
puter to keep track of the 
minutiae, I expect that it would 
be impossible. 

The first order of business in 
SA21 is ship design, which is a 
game in itself. Your spaceship is 
designed on a 3 by 7 grid. Each 
space can be filled by one of 12 
different types of struc- 
ture—engines, fuel tanks, sen- 
sors, missile pods, armor, the 
bridge, and so on. This lets you 
experiment with different ship 
designs, from multi-engine ships 



85 



SOFTWARE 



with no armor but ferocious ac- 
celeration capability to slow, 
super-strong tortoises that can 
blast any ship they meet, or 
anything in between. Even if this 
game did not perform well in its 
other areas I would enjoy it for 
the ship-building alone. 

The simulation is played in 
10-second turns. Movement is 
strictly Newtonian— once your 
ship starts moving at a set speed 
and in a particular direction, it 
will continue until you do some- 
thing to change its movement 

For a neophyte, just getting an 
enemy ship within disniptor 
range is an achievement to be 
proud of; for that matter, just not 
to run out of fuel before getting 
back to base is something of an 
accomplishment. 

Space Ace 21 is a very good 
game and an excellent simula- 
tion. It is one of the best com- 
puterized war-games I have 
seen. I strongly recommend it. 

Synergistic Solar's best game, 
however, is Parsector 8. It is a 
space-war game intended for two 
players (Parsector 5 has a com- 
puter opponent). 

The game comes with a sheet 
of instructions and a template 
for making a screen divider, 
which allows each player to see 
only his half of the screen. This 
secrecy is the reason Parsector 5 
and 8 are such good games. 
Your forces are hidden from 
enemy sight, as the opponent's 
actions are from yours; the ac- 
tion is mostly simultaneous, so 
the game has an overall feel of 
grand strategy. 

Parsector is played in a flat 
universe of anywhere from two 
to eight units on a side. Each 
player controls a mothership, 
which launches bases to solidify 
ownership of an area and 

86 



cruzers and fyters to defeat 
enemy units, as well as launch- 
ing weapon bolts of its own. The 
trick is to find and destroy the 
enemy's bases while protecting 
yours, never knowing where the 
enemy is initially located or 
what parsectors are under his 
control. 

Space Ace 21 is actually a 
much better design and a much 
more realistic game, but it is not 
an easy game to play. You have 
to do a lot of hard thinking to 
win at it. Parsector, while not 
nearly as good a simulation, is a 
better game because the players 
can sit back and relax. 
(Synergistic Solar Inc., P.O. Box 
560595, Miami, FL 33156. The 
games come two to a pack and 
are priced at $14.95 and 
$19.95, cassette.) 

W.D. Ives 
April 1982 



Arcade 80 
Astro Mines 
Falling Bricks 
Star Run 
Datasoft Inc. 
Model I 

Arcade 80 is a collection of 
three game programs. 

Astro Mines captured my in- 
terest most. You have a fixed 
amount of fuel and time (about 
1^2 minutes) to blow up as many 
mines as possible. This feat re- 
quires quick reflexes, a sense of 
strategic planning, and a high 
fnistration tolerance level. It is 
difficult enough to tax even a 
practiced hand. 

Falling Bricks is similar to the 
popular arcade game Invaders, 
except it is your irrevocable 
destiny to be beaned by a brick. 



GAMES 




The most you can hope to suc- 
ceed in is to top your previous 
score. Although there is some 
element of strategy necessary, 
your predominant activity is to 
relentlessly and frantically 
pound the space bar, which 
launches your missiles. 

Star Run does not work well or 
it doesn't work at all— it's hard 
to tell the difference. The 
graphics consist of moving letter 
H's for stars and a screen that 
whites out when you have been 
hit. The perpendicular sights at 
the center of the screen did not 
seem to move in response to the 
controls nor did the movement 
of the stars seem to change. 
However, even if the controls 
could be made to work, this 
game would not capture my in- 
terest for more than a few 
milliseconds. 

Astro Mines is challenging and 
interesting. Falling Bricks is 
challenging, and Star Run is 
hopeless. A speed option, a run- 
ning high-score display and 
more imaginative graphics 
would improve the first two. 
Children from ages five to twelve 
would probably enjoy playing 



two of these three programs, but 
if you have high demands when 
it comes to computer games, 
think twice before purchasing 
Arcade 80. 

(Datasoft Inc., 19519 Business 
Center Drive, Northridge, CA 
91 324. Arcade 80 is no longer 
available.) 

Joel Benjamin 
February 1982 



Armored Patrol 
Adventure International 
Model I and III 

If playing with little dump 
trucks were as much fun as 
Wayne Westmoreland's and 
Terry Oilman's Armored Patrol, 
I might be tempted to head for 
the front yard. Armored Patrol's 
command-chair perspective of 
the action is unique. Your mis- 
sion is to destroy enemy tanks. 
What separates this from the or- 
dinary World War ll-type games 
are plasma bursts instead of con- 
ventional shells, robots in lieu of 
human troops, and missions tak- 
ing place on an alien landscape. 

The idea is to maneuver your 
tank throughout the area in 
search of enemy tanks and 
robots. Some of the tanks are out 
in the open; a good number of 
them are hiding behind the 
blockhouses where they are least 
conspicuous and vulnerable. 
Frequently, an energy-zapping 
robot rolls into position bran- 
dishing twin ray guns. When 
you are hit, it depletes your 
energy reserves by one unit (you 
begin with 20). Once your 
energy level falls to zero, you 
lose one of your tanks. (You have 
four tanks per game. An extra 



87 



SOFTWARE 



tank is awarded at 20,000 
points.) 

What impressed me the most 
about Armored Patrol is the 
amount of action going on off 
screen. The battle area is 
finite— your viewing area is 
limited to one narrow area— but 
throughout the entire battlefield, 
tanks are lumbering to and fro 
between blockhouses and across 
the open desert. Robots pop up 
now and then, dispensing their 
own deadly form of havoc. All 
this creates a you-are-there feel 
to the game. 

If the degree of action is Ar- 
mored Patrol's best feature, then 
the 3-D-style graphics are a close 
second. By using the left/right 
controls, you are able to do a 
360-degree sweep of the entire 
area. As your tank moves for- 
ward or backward, enemy tanks, 
blockhouses and robots dimen- 
sionally swing into and out of 
view. Distant objects appear first 
as specks on the horizon and 
gradually grow in size as you 
move toward them. 

Armored Patrol's biggest fail- 
ing is the sound routines. I think 
a tank battle should be accom- 
panied by low, rumbling 
sounds— not the blips and 
whines evident here. A second 
(and frequently irritating) prob- 
lem is that one can be shot by an 
enemy tank within a split- 
second of the game's beginning. 
The final and most minor sug- 
gestion for improving the pro- 
gram would be making the 
blockhouse vulnerable to your 
fire. It would be nice if you could 
demolish one (over the course of 
several shots) with your plasma 
cannon and expose any tanks 
lurking behind. 

Armored Patrol is a solid buy 
for the price. Its graphics are 

88 



surprisingly realistic, and draw 
you into the game. It took me 
quite a few playings before I 
realized that there was a method 
to this interesting mad- 
ness—strategy and thought are 
definitely in order to rack up a 
respectable score. Armored 
Patrol is an enjoyable program 
and should be of interest to 
anyone who enjoys fine arcadia. 
(Adventure International, 
Box 3435, Longwood, FL 32750; 
$24.95.) 

Silas Pike 
August 1982 

Astro Mines 
(See Page 86) 



1^ 'A' "A" "^ 
Astro-Scope 
Sex-O-Scope 
AGS Software 
Model I and III 

Professional astrologers are us- 
ing microcomputers at an in- 
creasing rate to perform the 
calculations needed to cast 
horoscopes. Casting horoscopes 
by hand can take hours and 
hand-held electronic calculators 
simplify the process only a little. 
The use of microcomputers 
helps provide the information 
fast and can also provide greater 
quantities of it. 

Astro-Graphics Services Soft- 
ware has released two programs 
that add a new dimension to 
microcomputer astrology. The 
programs are called Astro-Scope 
and Sex-0-Scope. They both plot 
and display excellent natal event 
charts plus all the planetary 
aspects. More importantly, they 
also provide 1500 plus word 
descriptions of the person whose 



GAMES 



horoscope has been cast. This is 
a major advancement in 
astrological software. 

The Sex-0-Scope program 
gives a reading of the subject's 
sexual proclivities and attitudes, 
and is based on texts written by 
authors and lecturers in the field 
of astrology. 

These programs can be used 
by anyone, which makes them 
unique. I've run other astrology 
programs that produced sky 
maps and aspect charts, but I 
didn't know how to interpret the 
information. The new offerings 
from AGS Software, however, 
can be great fun, even for some- 
one who has no knowledge of 
astrology. 

Once you enter the basic infor- 
mation—date, time, and location 
of a person's birth— the comput- 
er will calculate and then display 
horoscope data and character 
descriptions. You can cast 
horoscopes for yourself, friends, 
family members, or famous 
people. 

The text files that accompany 
the main program are quite 
large, so you'll need at least 32K 
and two disk drives to run these 
programs. The documentation 
booklets are some of the best I've 
seen, providing latitude and 
longitude figures for at least one 
city in every state of the U.S., 
blank charts that you can 
photocopy for your own use, and 
data on famous people that you 
can use to run their charts. 

With these programs you can 
change your image from 
technocrat to mystic! 
(AGS Software, Dept. E, Box 28, 
Orleans, MA 02653; $30 each, 
disk system.) 

Michael Vose 
September 1981 



■^ ^ -^ ^ V2 

Asylum 

Med Systems Software 

Model I or III 

Another triumphant tease 
from Med Systems Software, 
Asylum is all any Deathmaze or 
Labyrinth fan could ask for and 
more. Asylum is similar to 
earlier games, and yet unique; 
the game board is a maze of 
halls and doors, but it doesn't 
seem to double upon itself, as 
did Labyrinth. While the halls 
are more straightforward, the 
situations you find yourself in 
are not. 

Asylum is a huge building full 
of locked rooms with keys just 
out of reach, grenades that don't 
explode— if you handle them 
right— nearly bare rooms, crazed 
inmates, equally crazed guards, 
and doctors you shouldn't trust. 
It is a maze of riddles and 
mysteries that could drive you 
insane. 

The graphics in Asylum differ 
from those in the two earlier 
games. Asylum provides a visual 
relief, with graphic depictions of 
beds, chairs, desks, doors with 
bars, inmates, guards and so on. 

Asylum commands are also 
different in that they are more 
sophisticated; there are far more 
commands than in the earlier 
two games. There are more 
things that you can do, and 
while you aren't directly inter- 
acting with the characters you 
meet in the maze, they can af- 
fect your situations directly. 

Any game player who likes 
thinking games and isn't totally 
hooked on the graphicless 
adventures should like Asylum; 
it is an adventure with a twist. 
But be sure to bring along a 



89 



SOFTWARE 



sharp imagination and a steady 

patience. 

(Med Systems Software, P.O. 

Box 3558, Chapel Hill, NC 

27514; $19.95.) 

Debra Marshall 
May 1982 



■^ ^ -^ V2 
Attack Force 
Alpha Products 
Model I and III 

Attack Force is a machine- 
language version of the popular 
video arcade game that 
transforms your TRS-80 screen 
into a maze of hostile alien ram- 
ships and flagships. As you start 
each game, a convoy of eight 
ramships, cniising at flank 
speed toward your ship, appears 
at the top of the maze. It's up to 
you, firing missiles, to maneuver 
and outflank the ramships 
before they ram you. 

To make the game more 
challenging, sidelined flagships 
wiU use their laser bolt to 
transform a ramship into a 
flagship or, to add to your 
frustration, into a mirror image 
of your ship. Firing at or col- 
liding with the mirror image 
destroys your ship. 

A word of caution when play- 
ing this game— you must be 
aware that your ship can only 
fire one missile at a time. Suc- 
cessive missiles do not fire until 
the preceding missile obliterates 
its intended target or crashes in- 
to oblivion off the screen. This 
can be a vital factor in later 
stages of the game. The point 
values of enemy ships increase 
as each wave of invaders is an- 
nihilated. 

This game produces noises 



that make battling aliens a 
delight to the ears. A little hard- 
ware rigging is required, 
however. Sound comes with 
every fired missile and each ex- 
ploding alien ship, as well as 
with the start of every game and 
each addition of 1,000 and 
10,000 points. 

Attack Force allows one or two 
players on the field of battle. The 
disk version will store the ten 
highest scores. 

After countless hours of battle, 
my calloused fingers totaled my 
best score at 4v5,560 points. 
Think you can beat that? Try 
Attack Force and you will be 
pleasantly surprised. 
(Alpha Products Co., 79-04 
Jamaica Ave., Woodhaven, NY 
1 1 421 . Attack Force has been 
discontinued.) 

George Kwascha 
January 1982 

W M W 

B-1 Bomber 

"^ "X" w 

North Atlantic Convoy Raider 

"^ "^ '^ 
Nukewar 
Avalon Hill 
Model I 

B-1 Bomber, Nukewar, and 
North Atlantic Convoy are 
among the better new games 
released in 1980 by Avalon Hill. 
These new computer games are 
boxed in book size. Each con- 
tains precise documentation, a 
vacuformed tape holder, and an 
Avalon Hill catalog. 

B-1 Nuclear Bomber simulates 
a manned bomber strike into 
Russia. This is a navigation 
simulation with a nuclear 



90 



GAMES 



climax. There are reciprocating 
MIGs to consider, as well as 
surface-to-air missiles and many 
air-combat variables. There is 
more than ample entertainment 
in B-1 Bomber, enough to keep 
you coming back for more. Win 
or lose, a game summary is 
delivered in the end, so you have 
a chance to compare scores and 
strategies from different game 
times. 

Nukewar is a bizarre simula- 
tion of a real-life problem that 
faces world leaders every day: 
how to provide strategic defense 
for a country when faced with 
enough destructive power to 
level the planet. During the Cold 
War, you are peacefully engaged 
in the building of new bases and, 
of course, spying on your neigh- 
bors. Any country may then 
declare war at any time. Negotia- 
tions for peace can ensue when 
the computer calls you on the 
hotline, wanting to make a deal. 

North Atlantic Convoy Raider 
puts you at the helm of the 
mighty Bismark, pitting your 
battleship against the British. 
Fog, nightfall, and pesky British 
warships all conspire to bring 
your Bismark to her destiny of 
destruction. It takes a while to 
win, but it's worth the effort. 

The best thing about the 
Avalon Hill games are their 
prices. In this day of $49.95 
boxed computer games, Avalon 
Hill has priced their products 
nominally. 

(B-1 Nuclear Bomber, Nukewar, 
and North Atlantic Convoy 
Raider are sold by Avalon Hill, 
Dept. C-10, 451 7 Harford Road. 
Baltimore, MD 21214; $16 each 
on cassette, $21 each on disk.) 

Bob Liddil 
June 1981 



-^ 'PC ^ 

Bounceoids 
Cornsoft Group Inc. 
Model I or HI 

The scenario for Bounceoids is 
a familiar one. You move your 
ship, located in the middle of the 
screen, by a joystick or keyboard 
control. Your mission is to 
destroy the large, floating space 
boulders surrounding your ship 
before they destroy you. This 
game, however, is not another 
version of asteroids. 

Unlike the asteroid-type game, 
you can't penetrate the boun- 
daries of the screen. Boulders 
bounce off the walls of the 
screen and ricochet at 90-degree 
angles. Boulders form groups of 
four or more and move in 
unison. The groups can become 
very large at higher skill levels 
and form a straight line that 
crosses the entire screen. 

If these groups of boulders 
aren't enough to throw you there 
are several other features that 
will. One is a snake-like creature 
that periodically appears from 
the side of the screen to confront 
you. In the higher levels, this 
multi-segmented creature 
becomes so long it is almost im- 
possible to destroy. Another 
deterrent is the appearance of 
alien artillery posts that fire at 
you. When playing in the lower 
skill levels they will wait a long 
time before firing at your ship, 
but as you move up in skill, they 
fire very rapidly. Your epitaph 
will be written quickly if you're 
not fast on the fire button. 

Only the highest score is main- 
tained on the system, and there 
are ten levels of playing skill for 
one to two players. Each player 
may start at a different level of 
play. The game is fast and 



91 



SOFTWARE 



should provide the ardent ar^ 
cader with enough action to 
provide a challenge and sore 
fingertips. 

(Cornsoft Group Inc., 6008 N. 
Keystone Ave., Indianapolis, IN 
46220; $15.95 cassette, $19.95 
disk.) 

Mark E. Renne 
December 1982 



■A... JL. .^ 

Www 

Cave Hunter 

-^ ^ ^ 
Color Berserk 
Mark Data Products 
Color Computer 

Neither Color Berserk nor 
Cave Hunter break any barriers 
in their use of the Color Com- 
puter's sound capability, nor do 
they startle you with graphic 
displays. But they are entertain- 
ing. After all, there's more to 
games than graphics and sound. 
There's action. 

Cave Hunter's playing screen 
is a blue square maze (represent' 
ing cave passages). You, the 
hunter, a flat four-legged green 
crab-like creature, are positioned 
at the top of the maze over an 
opening. At the bottom are four 
gold treasures. Your mission is 
to, one at a time, retrieve the 
treasures and safely deposit 
them outside the entrance. 

Of course there's competition, 
not for the gold but for right of 
passage through the maze. Your 
three equally crab-like com- 
petitors work together to comer 
and snuff you out. When they 
do, your treasure is left at the 
scene of the snuff. Try to get 
your treasure as close to the top 
as possible so you won't have to 
go too far to retrieve it. 



If you move your crab through 
one of four red boxes, called 
power deposits, in the maze, you 
become Super Crab, turn from 
green to red, and get to stomp 
the bad guys. That's what I did 
at first, but there's no real ad- 
vantage in it. Before you know it 
you're green again and the bug- 
gers are swarming all over you. 
It's a better idea to use your red 
armor to safely carry the 
treasures to your lair. 

In Color Berserk, the part you 
play is that of a human; a 
refreshing touch. You walk from 
room to room, each configured 
differently and with electrified 
walls, zapping hostile hunch- 
backs. They fire lasers at you; 
you return fire by pointing your 
joystick in their direction and 
pressing the fire button. The 
complication here is that point- 
ing the joystick at your target 
also propels you toward it. The 
humpbacks dissolve slowly, so if 
you're too close you have to do 
some hasty backtracking while 
one goes "phifft." 

Evil Orville, a floating smily 
face, follows you like a demented 
balloon throughout the game. 
Just once I'd like an opportunity 
to blast that manic face with a 
laser, but Orville is impervious 
to attack. 

The graphics in Color Berserk 
are better than those in Cave 
Hunter. Although the graphics 
are not special, both games do 
have nicely done opening 
displays. The sound is not very 
exciting, either. Both games re- 
quire joysticks; one for single 
play and two for doubles. They 
are not play-once-and-shelve 
games. High scores take prac- 
tice, and low scores are not 
tolerable. 
(Mark Data Products, 23802 






GAMES 



Barquilla, Mission Viejo, CA 
92691; each cassette $24.95, 
$29.95 disk.) 

Kerry Lelchtman 
September 1982 



'^ ^ ^ V2 

Color Pac Attack 
Computerware 
Color Computer 

Color Pac Attack is the Color 
Computer's version of the 
popular arcade game. 

After a musical fanfare at the 
start of the game, the Pac person 
you control with a joystick tries 
to consume proton pellets 
around a maze while trying to 
avoid being caught by three 
muggers. The three muggers 
(Huey, Dewey, and Louie) start 
the game in a box in the center 
of the screen and chase the Pac 
person around the maze. If Pac 
Person gets to a proton energizer 
(a large pellet), it gives you the 
power to attack, but only for a 
few seconds. During this short 
time, the muggers turn blue and 
white and flee from the Pac per- 
son; but with your incredible 
energy you can travel faster to 
catch them. Catching the mug- 
gers gives you 200, 400, or 600 
points and sends them back to 
the box in the center of the 
screen. You are chased around 
the maze as you consume the 
proton pellets, energizers, and 
muggers until you're caught 
three times. If you clear the 
screen of pellets and energizers, 
you're rewarded with another 
full screen and you start again. 

If you Just play for points, you 
need to know about the apple. 
The apple sometimes appears on 
the screen below the muggers' 



box, but only for a few seconds. 
If you consume the apple, you 
get a 300 point bonus. Current 
score and the high score during 
any one game are displayed at 
the top of the screen. The game 
has three skill levels: easy, hard, 
and tough. The higher levels of 
skill speed up the pace of the 
characters and also limit the 
number of proton energizers 
around the edge of the screen. 
The easy level starts with 10 
energizers; the hard and tough 
levels have eight and four. 

Pac Attack is similar to the ar- 
cade game. The pellets are larger 
and fewer in number but the 
maze is more complex, which 
makes this game equally ex- 
citing and challenging. The color 
and sound are dynamic and add 
to the pressure as the game pro- 
gresses. If you're looking for a 
game to provide hours of 
challenges and rewards without 
bullets, missiles, and bombs, 
then I recommend Color Pac 
Attack. 

(Computerware, Box 668, En- 
cinitas, CA 92024; 16K, $24.95 
cassette, $29.95 disk.) 

Max Treece 
August 1982 



"^ "^ "^ "^ 
Games Trilogys 
Color Space Invaders 
Meteoroids 
Space War 
Spectral Associates 
Color Computer 

The Color Computer is capable 
of high resolution graphics and 
these games prove it. You need a 
TV with good resolution to play. 
All three are in machine lan- 
guage and require 16K. Meteor- 



93 



SOFTWARE 



Olds and Space War require 
joysticks. 

Color Space Invaders is the 
same old game that you never 
tire of playing, except that the 
invaders wave their arms and 
legs, and blink at you as they 
drop their bombs. This game 
can be played with joysticks, but 
it's easier to use the arrow keys 
and space bar. 

A nice feature of the display is 
the lack of a perceivable border 
around the edge of the field, and 
the entire screen flashes when 
you take a hit. The game has 16 
skill levels. 

Meteoroids is an Asteroid -type 
game with action and speed. It 
includes most of the features of 
the popular arcade game, in- 
cluding alien spaceships that fire 
back. Your ship is supposed to 
be controlled by the joysticks, 
but in this and the Space War 
game, the ship is very sensitive 
and difficult to control, and the 
high resolution makes it hard to 
tell which way you are aimed. 

Space War is similar to Me- 
teoroids, but the main object is 
to destroy a death star that has 
only one weak spot. When you 
destroy it, you are in for a treat, 
but don't be too close when it ex- 
plodes, or you will go with it. 

The black hole's gravitation is 
what makes this game fun. You 
can simulate the effect on the 
Voyager spacecraft as it 
catapults past Jupiter, and even 
get into an unstable orbit for 
short periods. 

These games have sound and 
are a better bargain than most 
software for the Color Computer. 

(Spectral Associates. 141 Har- 
vard Ave.. Tacoma. WA 98466. 
Color Space Invaders and Space 
War are available separately 
for $21 .95 cassette and $25.95 



disk. They are also available in 
a games trilogy with Ghost Gob- 
bler for $59.95 cassette and 
$63.95 disk. Meteoroids is now 
being marketed by Tandy/Radio 
Shack under the name of 
Microbes.) 

David G. Bartlett 
March 1982 

"A" ^ "^ 

Commbat 

Adventure International 

Model I and III 

Commbat. a next-generation 
computer game, requires two 
machines to play it. It is a real- 
time war game within a 64 by 
64 grid divided into eight see- 
tors. The machines keep track of 
eight tanks, three decoys, one 
base and a host of armaments 
belonging to each player. The 
machines do this, however, 
without revealing the 
whereabouts of the other side 
until you move one of your 
tanks within viewing range. 

Your battle display shows the 
area around any one of your 
tanks, your base, and one of 
your three decoys on the right 
side of the screen. The left side 
of the screen contains either a 
command help list or a display 
of any one of the eight sectors of 
the playing field. 

Since the game is designed to 
be played by two physically 
separated people, there is a com- 
mand to transmit messages to 
the other player, thereby allow- 
ing nasty comments to be ex- 
changed. The game requires two 
complete computer systems with 
RS-232 and modem or 
equivalent. 

The program, which each 
player must have, prompts for 
baud rate (from 1 10-9600) and 



94 



GAMES 



establishes communication with 
the other machine without com- 
munications software packages, 
A save feature allows both 
players to interrupt the session 
and resume the game later. A 
practice mode is available to 
help you learn commands used 
in the game. In it, you deploy 
your forces and inflict casualties 
upon yourself; no opposition is 
provided. 

I have found two disadvan- 
tages with the game: there is 
no warm-restart capability and 
response time is slow at 300 
baud. 

(Adventure International P.O. 
Box 3435, Longwood, FL 32750: 
$49.95 cassette or disk, 32K 
Model I required.) 

John W. Warne 
January 1982 



"A" "A" /2 

Computer Acquire 
Avalon Hill 
Model I and III 

Have you ever imagined your- 
self a financial wizard, the head 
of a vast hotel chain involved in 
power struggles and stock merg- 
ers? Do you like exciting fast- 
paced games? Then keep look- 
ing—this game is not for you. 

Computer Acquire is the com- 
puter version of the board game 
Acquire. It is a game of high 
finance—a game of strategy and 
luck that up to six people can 
play. The object is to build and 
expand hotel chains. At the same 
time, you can buy stock in any 
chain and try to get a majority. 
Merging chains will give someone 
a profit, with a bonus going to the 
majority stock holder. 

The game ends when all the 
chains are merged or are too 



large to merge. The hotels and 
stock are then cashed in and 
the person with the most 
money wins. 

Unfortunately, the game does 
not tal^e advantage of various 
features of the microcomputer. 
The lack of graphics and sound is 
noticeable and the screen is dif- 
ficult to read. This is one game 
that is more fun when played in 
its original form. 
(Computer Acquire, Avalon Hill, 
Dept. C-10, 451 7 Harford Road. 
Baltimore, MD 21214. cassette 
$20.) 

Mary Gasiorowskl 
November 1981 



Computer Major League; The 
Game of Professional 
Baseball 
Avalon Hill 
Model I or III 

Walk into amy place where afi- 
cionados of the Grand Game 
congregate and ask what's the 
best major-league simulation 
game on the market. You will 
get a chorus of replies, but if you 
are looking for harmony, you 
will find more of it on a street 
corner in Philly. 

Now into the fray enters the 
prestigious game house, Avalon 
Hill, with not only a board ver- 
sion of baseball, but one for the 
microcomputer. 

Avalon Hill's game is not for 
the arcade set. It is a text game 
founded on the baseball fan's 
unflagging fascination with 
statistics. 

You enter the home and 
visiting teams and you are ready 
to set up your lineup. All 26 ma- 
jor league teams and their 



95 



SOFTWARE 



25-man rosters from 1980 are 
included. 

By keying in V or H you can 
call up the roster of the visiting 
or home team. By each fielder is 
his number, positions he plays, 
batting average, slugging per- 
centage, and overall running 
speed. At this point, it would be 
helpful to know a player's ability 
to sacrifice, hit and nm, but 
these ratings (along with home 
run, walk, on-base running, and 
strikeout ratings) can't be ac- 
cessed until the game is 
under way. 

Although the documentation 
notes that the game incorporates 
a player's fielding ability into the 
fabric of play, you don't have ac- 
cess to that information— 
definitely a drawback in the late 
innings when you are hanging 
onto a one-run lead and want 
your best defensive players on 
the field. 

The game keeps a running 
scorecard you can access any- 
time to see what a player or 
pitcher has done to that point 
in the contest. Major League also 
contains a print routine so 
you can print a box score of 
the game. 

Major League takes the 
drudgery out of baseball simula- 
tion. Some fans might find it ex- 
citing to roll n-sided dice and 
pore through cards and charts, 
but as for us, we would rather 
have the micro do it for us. After 
all, the cerebral part of the game 
is making decisions and reacting 
to field situations— not acquiring 
eye strain by reading charts. 

(Avalon Hill, Dept C-10, 451 7 
Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 
21214; $25 cassette, $30 disk.) 

John P. Mello, Jr. 
May 1982 

96 



Conflict 2500 
Avalon Hill 
Model I and III 

Conflict 2500 is a radical de- 
parture from first generation 
one-ship Star Trek games. The 
first part of the game sets the 
scene. You may choose one to 10 
hyperfighters for the good guys, 
one to 20 planet pulverizers for 
the bad guys, and up to 10 plan- 
ets and 10 bases from which you 
get power. The object is to chase 
the bad guys attacking the plan- 
ets and either fire at them or 
leave a mine for them to run into. 

Play begins with a galactic 
report showing the universe as a 
9 by 13 grid indicating your 
ships, planets, and bases. At- 
tacks on planets or ships are 
reported to you in verbal 
messages. The grid is then 
redrawn, you move to one of 
your ships, and you get a 2000 
by 1600-megameter tactical 
view. Each sector is 1000 square 
megameters. Planet pulverizers 
are not shown on the grid, but 
you may fire once at them. Any 
angle from 0-360 degrees is per- 
missible. You can then set a 
mine for the enemy to run into 
or you may take off. The planet 
pulverizers will return fire on 
you or your planet. To move, 
you must indicate heading and 
velocity. You have to change 
direction and velocity every 
move or your ship will miss its 
target. 

The game is well-documented 
and the instructions are clear 
and concise; however, playing 
the game is very dull. There is 
no real time. Graphics are slowly 
drawn set-reset graphics and 
redrawn each time you change 
ships. If you play the game one- 



GAMES 



on-one, the computer's ship is 
not drawn and you must wait for 
it to appear; or you can search 
117 sectors looking for it. If you 
use multiple ship scenarios the 
play becomes intolerably slow as 
individual ship information must 
be fed in and all previous infor- 
mation neutralized. A summary 
at the end of the game indicates 
the outcome based on fleets, 
bases, and so on. 

All in all this type of strategy 
game needs more excitement or 
should be left to pencil, paper, 
and the user's imagination. 
(Avalon Hill, Dept C-10, 451 7 
Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 
21214; $16 cassette, $21 disk.) 
Mark E. Renne 
August 1982 



-^ ^ ^- 1/2 

Crash, Crumble, and Chomp 

Epyx 

Automated Simtulations 

Model I or III 

I look for strategy in computer 
games, and I have been par- 
ticularly pleased with the new 
Epyx entry, Crush, Crumble, 
and Chomp. In several ways, it 
is far ahead of other games I 
have tried. 

This game is a major change 
of direction for Epyx, whose 
other games are attempts at put- 
ting fantasy-role games on a 
computer. This is a slightly 
tongue-in-cheek take-off on the 
grade-B monster movies in 
which you get to play a famous 
movie monster, such as Godzilla 
or Mechismo, and attack one of 
four major cities: New York, San 
Francisco, Washington, or 
Tokyo. 

Crush, Crumble, and Chomp 
is a carefully designed game. 



The graphics on the TRS-80 ver- 
sion are as good or better than 
anything I have seen before on 
the machine. 

The documentation is also 
well done. The booklet is explicit 
and arranged for easy reference. 
It includes handy maps of the 
four cities, and commands for 
the various monsters are on 
separate, unbound cards for 
easy use. 

The real victory of Crush, 
Crumble, and Chomp— the thing 
that makes it different from the 
competition— is that it is a true 
strategy game. You must make 
decisions from before the start of 
the game, and your success will 
in large part be determined by 
those decisions. You can play 
one game one way, and the next 
so completely different it 
may not seem like the same 
game at all. 

Your decisions start when you 
set the parameters of the game. 
You decide which monster you 
want, and each has its own 
capabilities and weaknesses. 
Then, you pick the city you will 
play with. Finally, you deter- 
mine how your performance will 
be scored by determining your 
primary mission— to destroy 
buildings, eat, kill combat units, 
or survive. 

Epyx gives you some help in 
forming your strategies. The 
degree of difficulty is another 
issue that Epyx has considered 
carefully. Games can't be so 
easy that they are immediately 
conquerable, nor so hard that 
they discourage people from 
trying. 

Crush, Crumble, and Chomp 
solves this problem and the 
question of giving the player 
enough variety to keep him in- 
terested game after game with 



97 



SOFTWARE 



its variety of choices of monster 
versus city versus objective. 
Some of the choices are very dif- 
ficult to succeed at. 

This is not to say that Crush. 
Cnimble, and Chomp is a 
perfect game. It runs very slow- 
ly. Movement is taken in turns 
with your monster moving first 
and then the other units- 
crowds, police cars, military 
units, and so on—moving one at 
a time. Each turn can seem to 
take forever. 

I consider Crush, Crumble, 
and Chomp to be a must for the 
serious microcomputer gamer's 
collection, and I hope it is an in- 
dication of better things to come 
from Epyx as well as their com- 
petitors. 

(Automated Simulations, P.O. 
Box 4247, Mountain View, CA 
94040; $29.95.) 

Bert Latamore 
February 1982 



The Datestones of Ryu 
Automated Simulations 
Model I and III 

Datestones, the most precious 
treasure of the Duchy, have been 
stolen by the brigand Rex and 
hidden in his mountain lair. 
You, as the player of Datestones 
of Ryn (a.k.a. Brian Ham- 
merhand, mercenary at large), 
must retrieve and return the 
stones to the grateful Rynians. 

As the game begins, you find 
yourself in a room at the cave's 
entrance. The game is timed; 
you have 20 minutes to roam 
about the cave, find and recover 
the datestones, and defeat or 
successfully flee from the cave's 
many horrors. At any point you 
may encounter and be chal- 



lenged by a beastie: robbers, 
centipedes, wolves, spiders, 
skeletal bats, and slime. Some of 
the critters are stationary, others 
move about and pop up unex- 
pectedly. 

Scoring is based on the 
number of stones recovered and 
brought outside, the number of 
foes vanquished, how long you 
survive, and whether you escape 
from the cave at the end of the 
20 minutes. 

Computer response to fight or 
flight commands is sometimes 
too slow to avoid impending 
disaster. It's very frustrating to 
watch yourself being engulfed in 
slime while you keep punching 
the button that should get you 
out. Conversely, I have watched 
beasties die without my lifting a 
finger to aid in their demise. 

The game is limited in scope 
and area, but it is a microquest 
rather than a full-fledged Dun- 
jonquest, and you are fully 
warned of this distinction by 
Automated Simulations. It is 
best viewed as an introduction to 
their larger fantasy games. 
(Automated Simulations, P.O. 
Box 4247, Mountain View, CA 
94040; $19.95 cassette and 
disk.) 

Debra Marshall 
April 1981 

'^ ^ ^ -^ 
Deathmaze 5000 
Med Systems Software 
Model I and III 

I've had it! I'm sick of it! I hate 
it! . . . Well maybe I'll try 
Deathmaze just one more time, 

This has got to be one of the 
most infuriating, aggravating, ir- 
ritating, frustrating, angering, 
spellbinding games on the 
market. 



98 



GAMES 



Fm not going to describe it. ex- 
cept to say that it's different 
from any other adventure game 
I've seen so far. Just thinking 
about it makes my blood boil 
and my teeth chatter. One staffer 
here actually dreams of its cor- 
ridors and doorways. 

The game comes complete 
with practically no directions at 
all, but it does have a warning: 
"Be patient. You will not solve 
Deathmaze during the first 
week. Or the first month." 

They are right! My boss is 
making dire predictions about 
my career when he's not making 
suggestions about solving the 
puzzle. I'm getting desperate. I 
can't make it past the first level. 
I've starved to death at least 50 
times in the past month. Please, 
please, doesn't someone out 
there know where to find food 
and how to get out of the 
seventh room? Where's the door 
to the second level? Does anyone 
have a magic word to activate 
the junk I've been carrying 
around? Do I really want to put 
myself through five levels of this 
agony? 

Ah, but such enticing, in- 
teresting agony! 

Maybe I should try , , . 
(Med Systems Software, P.O. Box 
3558, Chapel Hill, NC 27514: 
cassette $14.95, disk $1 7.95.) 

Debra Marshall 
February 1981 



Defense Command 
Big Five Software 
Model I and III 

Incredible graphics, sound, 
and voices add up to fun in 
Defense Command. The game is 
in machine language and loads 



with the System command. The 
programmers made sure that if 
the program is run on a Model 
III, it takes advantage of special 
characters. The Model I and 
Model III versions are identical 
and they both check for the 
model type to use the applicable 
features of either machine. 

The game is unlike any arcade 
game I have seen. The player is 
placed at the bottom of the 
screen, and is guarding highly 
important Krotnium fuel cells in 
the Kromforkrom galaxy. A 
whole slew of nasty aliens comes 
down and tries to steal the fuel 
cells from you. 

You are transported to the 
area by a mother ship. Several 
other ships escort you down, in- 
cluding a flagship, which is 
worth a lot of points later on. 
After transporting down, you 
wait for the aliens to come, or 
you take a couple of shots at the 
aliens who escorted you. If you 
accidentally hit the mother ship, 
it sends down solar-energy 
crushers, which will inevitably 
smash you. 

Once the aliens start coming 
down, you must dodge around 
trying to shoot them. There is 
also a dangerous slicer that will 
fly down, ignore you, and slice 
up your fuel canisters. You must 
kill the slicer before it gets to 
the bottom of the screen, or 
you lose. 

You have another defense 
against the aliens: the anti- 
matter bombs. Any number key 
destroys every alien on the 
screen, but you only have four of 
these bombs. You receive an ad- 
ditional bomb with every 5,000 
points, and an extra ship for 
every 10,000 points. 

One of this game's most im- 
pressive features is the voice. 



SOFTWARE 



The voices are clear and loud 
and are far superior to the old 
Robot Attack game. They even 
change pitches (both squeaky 
and low voices) and are present 
during different points of 
the game. 

Defense Command is a superb 
game and an original idea. The 
sounds, graphics, and voices are 
excellent. Instead of being an im- 
itation of some other arcade 
game, it is new and a great deal 
of fun. 

(Big Five Software, P.O. Box 
9078-185, Van Nuys, CA 91409: 
$19.95 disk, $15.95 cassette.) 

Tim Knight 
August 1982 



• •*V2 

The Dragons of Hong Kong 

"^ -^ 1^ 

Local Call for Death 

■^ ^ ^ 3^ 

On His Majesty's Ship 
Impetuous 

^ ^ V2 

Two Heads of a Coin 
Adventure International 
Model III 

Interactive Fiction presents a 
person with the framework of a 
genre novel and lets him be a 
character in the book. (If you're 
a woman, forget it. The pro- 
grammer's warning in The 
Dragons of Hong Kong applies to 
the entire series: "This story has 
a rather male perspective. We 
suggest you adopt a male 
outlook and a man's name.") As 
the plot thickens, you write your 
own dialog and make decisions 
influencing the outcome of the 



story. In the first two offer- 
ings—Local Call for Death and 
Two Heads of a Coin— there is 
only one outcome: solving the 
mystery at hand. In His 
Majesty's Ship Impetuous and 
The Dragons of Hong Kong there 
are at least three possible 
endings. 

Local Call takes place "a few 
years after the Great War." You 
are called on to assume the role 
of a reputed American detective 
in England rubbing shoulders 
with the crust of London society. 
Programmer R. Lafore offers 
some nice touches of high living 
here: You dine on Filet de Boeuf 
Strassbourgeoise, drink 1913 
Chateau Doigt de Pied, and tool 
through the city on the Thames 
in a Hispano-Suiza, one of the 
finest automobiles ever made. 

Although the plot of Local Call 
is engaging (an apparent suicide 
tickles your deductive instincts), 
in many cases characters fail to 
interact with you. On several 
runs of the novel, when financier 
Major Wormsley asked Alec 
Deepgrave (this reviewer's per- 
sona) his occupation, responses 
such as a brain surgeon, injec- 
tion mold engineer, grave robber 
and gigolo triggered the same 
response from the major: "Oh, I 
see." When interaction becomes 
more complicated in Local Call, 
the give and take between 
characters can become non- 
sensical. 

On the procedural level, the 
documentation for converting 
Local Call to Model III format 
was fine until it explained 
building the DO files. The docs 
left out a reminder to take the 
Model I version of the game out 
of drive 1 before you create the 
files; otherwise, you will get a 
CRC error. 



100 



GAMES 



In the second "novel" in the 
series, Two Heads of a Coin, 
James Conway, a middle-aged, 
well-groomed, prosperous 
businessman, enlists the help of 
a Sherlock Holmes-style detec- 
tive to find his missing wife 
Georgina. However, Two Heads 
also proves to be irresponsive. 
Not only does it serve up the old 
reliable "I don't understand your 
meaning," but sometimes 
resembles the proverbial broken 
record. 

Both Local Call and Two 
Heads have a drawback inherent 
in their genre. Once you solve 
them, there isn't much point in 
reading them again. But that's 
less of a drawback for a $3 
mystery than a piece of software. 

On His Majesty's Ship Im- 
petuous and The Dragons of 
Hong Kong are more ambitious 
and challenging than their 
predecessors. 

In HMS Impetuous, you must 
not only pilot a ship-of-the-line 
through enemy-infested waters, 
but command a temperamental 
crew. Your troubles begin when 
a junior officer affronts your 
authority. How you handle this 
situation seems to determine the 
outcome of the novel because it 
has a profound effect on the 
behavior of your crew. 

Lafore warns interactive 
novelists to "play it straight" to 
get the most fun out of the soft- 
ware, but outrageous behavior 
can yield some entertaining 
results in the face of the pro- 
gram's boilerplate ambience. 

Although Impetuous has 
several endings and you in- 
fluence them with your deci- 
sions, it seems you will always 
make it to the final chapter 
where your ship-of-the-line con- 
fronts an enemy armada of 40 



ships, most of them superior in 
firepower to yours. You can't 
cleanse every sin you've com- 
mitted to that point, but you will 
always salvage a measure of 
glory if you exhibit a stout heart. 

That isn't the case in The 
Dragons of Hong Kong. It is as 
Byzantine as a good adventure 
game full of traps and dead 
ends. If you're really lily-livered, 
you may even end up as an ac- 
countant and nothing of interest 
ever happens to you for the rest 
of your life. Unlike its 
predecessors. Dragons makes 
you feel you're interacting with 
something more than a thinly 
disguised adventure game— not 
only that you're interacting but 
also creating. 

In Dragons, Lafore's prose 
walks the line between spoof and 
parody, giving the "novel" the 
flavor of the hardest boiled 
fiction: 

"Not even a real estate agent 
would claim Big Al's Bar had a 
prestigious location. An iron mill 
crowds up on one side, and on 
the other is the kind of transient 
hotel guests tend to leave feet 
first. 

"You cross a railroad siding 
and push open Big Al's door. 
The welterweight match on the 
tv is making a nice counterpoint 
with the jukebox blaring 'Born 
to be a Redneck,' and the smell 
of stale beer probably couldn't 
be cut with hand tools." 

Dragons and its predecessors 
don't quite live up to the hype 
Adventure International ad- 
vances in their cause. Even 
Lafore, quoted in Omni, admits 
that "The interactivity in these 
stories is now somewhat 
limited." But as Dragons in- 
dicates, the series is in evolution 
and getting better all the time. 



lOl 



SOFTWARE 




(Adventure International Box 
3435, Longwood, FL 32750; 
$29.95 disk, 32K required.) 

John P. Mello, Jr. 
August 1982 



Draws and StudS 
Wilson Software Division 
Model I and III 

The most unique thing about 
Draw5 is that the computer 
plays six hands against 
you— and the six hands all play 
against one another even after 
you have dropped out of the 
round. Each player that the com- 
puter simulates has a name and 
his own individual style of play. 
One player might consistently 
bluff while another will never 
bluff, and some of the players 
bluff at random. After a while 
each of the simulated players 
takes on its own individual per- 
sonality—it's almost uncanny. 

And if that isn't enough, after 
a few hands, the other "players" 
begin to figure out your style of 
play and alter their playing 
styles to counter your style, 



Draws is played according to 
standard Gardena Card Club 
rules (a pair of Jacks or better to 
open, and so on) and the pro- 
gram doesn't allow cheating. If 
you can't open, it automatically 
passes you. 

Stud5 is identical to DrawS in 
concept except that it plays five- 
card stud poker. StudS is as well 
designed as DrawS, except that I 
enjoy playing draw poker more 
than I enjoy playing stud poker. 

I find the simulation complete- 
ly engrossing and a good buy. 
DrawS has definitely sharpened 
my playing skills— anyone for a 
friendly little game? 
(Wilson Software Division, 539 
Springhouse Lane, Camp Hill, 
PA 1 701 1; cassette. Draw5 $20, 
Stud5$15.) 

Lloyd Martin 
January 1982 



-^ ^ -^ 1/2 
Eliminator 

Adventure International 
Model I and III 

You are the pilot of the star- 
craft Eliminator. The controls of 
your ship are simple to learn, 
but difficult to master; to defeat 
the enemy, you must have split- 
second control of your ship. 

Your goal is to keep the aliens 
from capturing your energizers 
and taking them to the top of the 
screen. The energizers are 
placed on gantry towers 
throughout the planet. If you 
destroy the first wave, another 
wave appears after you receive 
bonus points for remaining 
energizers. There is no end to 
the villains until you lose all 
your ships or all the energizers 
are captured. 

The enemy comes in assorted 



102 



GAMES 



degrees of difficulty, Disruptoids 
are the most common and the 
easiest to destroy; they score 150 
points. Disruptoids hover around 
the energizers waiting for a 
chance to kidnap them. The sec- 
ond type of alien is a drone; 
although they don't fire at you, 
their purpose is to plant aerial 
mines. If you hit a mine, your 
ship is destroyed. They score 
250 points. The final enemy is a 
tracer dispersal unit, or TDU. 
They are harmless to your ship 
and score 1,000 points. After be- 
ing touched, five tracers are 
released; each tracer is worth 
150 points. These tracers follow 
you and each one packs a deadly 
force. With practice, you can 
score extra points by destroying 
a disruptoid carrying an 
energizer. 

Screen information includes 
score, ships, and bombs remain- 
ing, and current record high 
score. At the top of the screen is 
a long-range scanner that covers 
the entire planet. It indicates the 
location of the aliens and if any 
energizers are being picked up. 
Sound is available through the 
cassette AUX plug. 

To score points, manipulate 
the controls as if they were an 
extension of your hand. It's im- 
perative to eliminate the first 
wave without using any disrup* 
tor charges. You need them 
more during the later waves. By 
saving the tracer dispersal units 
for last, you can eliminate the 
tracers with greater ease. Rapid 
fire is not advised; you usually 
end up destroying as many 
energizers as aliens. 

The game instructions are 
clear and include loading in- 
structions for all computers. 
Eliminator is fast, challenging, 
and saves enough quarters in a 



month to pay for itself. Graphics 
and sound are superb, just as 
advertised. Eliminator is one of 
the first arcade games to come 
from Adventure International 
and certainly not the last. 
(Adventure International, Box 
3435, Longwood, FL 32750; 
$1 9.95 tape 16K Model I or III 
$24.95 disk 32K Model I or III} 

Mark E. Renne 
August 1982 



-A" "^ V2 

Everest Explorer 

Acorn Software Products Inc. 

Model I and ID 

Everest Explorer starts you in 
Katmandu, the traditional kick- 
ing-off point for Everest expedi- 
tions, with an operating budget 
randomly selected from a low of 
$80,000 to a high of $275,000. 
You spend this money on 
climbers, Sherpa guides, tents, 
oxygen, food, and fuel. 

The first challenge of the expe- 
dition is to find a route through 
the Khumbu Glacier to the site 
of camp 2. You must always be 
aware of weather conditions as 
well as the health status of your 
climbers. 

Once you establish camp 2. 
the climbing instructions 
become more cumbersome. You 
must assign each climber a 
destination, and also decide 
what each is to carry with him. 
You must make sure that each 
camp has sufficient supplies for 
the expected climbers. This is 
complicated by the lack of a 
unified listing that could show 
how many climbers will be in 
camp the next night and what 
they will be bringing with them. 
To make up such a list, you will 



103 



SOFTWARE 



have to go through three of the 
four data banks listed in the 
menu and take written notes. 

If you enjoy dealing with the 
intricacies of logistics, you will 
love Everest Explorer. If it's 
adventure you're looking for, I 
suggest you save your money 
and head for the nearest 
mountain. 

(Acorn Software Products Inc.^ 
634 North Carolina Ave. S.E., 
Washington, DC 20003; $19.95 
32K disk or 1 6K cassette.) 

Bert Latamore 
August 1981 



Falling Bricks 
(See Page 86) 

^ -^ ^ ^ 
Forbidden City 
Fantastic Software 
Model I and m 

"Arrgh, I'm dead!" my faithful 
amplifier spits at me in spite. 
"Play again?" asks another 
voice. I scream "NO" and hope 
this time the robots don't bump 
me off so quickly. That's right. 
Forbidden City is a talking 
adventure system. Not only does 
it have sound effects, but the 
game has three separate voices 
with gender and emotion. 

The adventure is in machine 
language on a self-booting disk 
and requires 48K. Standard 
verb/noun commands are ac- 
cepted and the split screen is 
used for display. The game has a 
vocabulary of over 140 words for 
input and a separate vocabulary 
for spoken words. Game saving 
is easy and up to 10 games can 
be saved at one time with com- 
ments for each. 

What sets this game apart 



from most adventure games is 
the voice. The voice is not meant 
to help or guide you through the 
adventure. It does, however, 
dispense critical information at 
times. The game can also be 
played with the voice off without 
missing any clues. 

The voice of the city computer 
is female; she has an alluring 
voice and is usually looking for 
information such as passwords. 
The voice of your computer is 
pleasant. It excitedly says "I 
found something" if an exam 
item is fruitful. It also sounds a 
little sick after radiation poison- 
ing; you know death is certain 
without treatment. The last 
voice belongs to the robots 
guarding the city. Once you're 
spotted by guards they chase 
you shouting "Stop Alien," or 
"Stop Intruder." It's only a mat- 
ter of a few turns before they kill 
you. I have not figured out how 
to deactivate them yet. 

The robots make the game 
challenging and difficult. The 
three voices are a definite plus; 
their words are very clear and 
their emotions are convincing. 
Adventures may never be the 
same. 

(Fantastic Software, P.O. Box 
27734, Las Vegas, NV 89126; 
$39.95 disk, requires 48K.) 

Mark E. Renne 
August 1982 

^ -^ ^ y2 

Galactic Empire 
Broderbund Software 
Model I 

Galactic Empire is a 16K, 
Level II strategy game that 
makes you the commander of 
the planet Galactica's forces. 
Your mission is to conquer the 



104 



GAMES 



20 worlds of the Central Galactic 
System within 1000 years. Your 
forces are fighters, transports, 
and scouts, and your method 
is— brute force. 

You move from system to 
system, conquering when you 
can. All your actions must be 
carefully planned if you expect 
to conquer the galaxy in a mere 
thousand years. 

Although Galactic Empire is 
well designed and fun to play, 
there are some problems. This is 
a long game— one session can 
easily last from 4-6 hours. 

The good points outweigh the 
bad. Galactic Empire is never 
dull. The continuous changes in 
layout and planetary character- 
istics present you with different 
problems each game. The at- 
tacks can be full of surprises; 
you can lose a high-probability 
game if you aren't watching 
carefully. You can also pull off a 
victory from what seems like a 
hopeless position if you have the 
courage to fight on. 
(Broderbund Software, 1 938 
Fourth St., San Rafael, CA 
94901 . Galactic Empire is no 
longer available.) 

Dan Cataldo 
August 1981 

"^ "^ '^ 

Galaxy Invasion 
Big Five Software 

"^ yf "^ 

Invaders Plus 
Level IV Products 

-^ ^ ^ 

Invasion from Outer Space 
The Software Exchange 
Model I and III 

Invaders Plus is a 2.9K ma- 
chine-language program that 



presents the player with 49 aliens 
of two types arranged in seven 
rows of seven aliens each. An ad- 
ditional alien continuously zips 
across the top of the screen. The 
animation of the aliens is effec- 
tive—they seem to take little 
steps in their march across the 
screen, dropping missiles on the 
defending base. Five gas clouds 
protect the bases, at least until 
they are eroded away by the alien 
attack, or from below by the 
missiles fired from the base. 

I have a few minor complaints. 
The base moves right and left so 
quickly that it is hard to control. 
It isn't possible to fire at the 
aliens while the base is moving. 
There is no ongoing display of 
how many bases remain. 

Invasion from Outer Space is a 
16K machine-language program. 
It presents you with 105 aliens 
of only one type, arranged in 
seven rows of 15 aliens each. 
The aliens aren't animated— 
they just move back and forth 
across the screen, dropping 
CHR$(191)s on the defending 
base, which is protected by three 
gas clouds. 

Defending missiles can't 
destroy descending alien 
missiles. Sound effects are ap- 
propriate to the action. The score 
is incremented for each alien 
destroyed, and there is no penal- 
ty for missed shots. The game 
continues until five bases have 
been destroyed. 

My complaints are minor ones. 
The previous high score is not 
displayed. The CHR$(191) used 
for missiles by both the aliens 
and the bases seems too big. 
And sometimes when you press 
the space bar it doesn't fire a 
missile; presumably the CPU is 
updating the display, and not 
monitoring the keyboard. 



105 



SOFTWARE 

















Li - /ri ,. .i.Tf^ ni%fTdaM=gnj~|Mi6Hi(m]^'''|i^^ fT^ 



Galaxy Invasion is a 9.2K 
machine-language program that 
presents 40 aliens of four dif- 
ferent types, arranged in four 
rows of 10 aliens each. An addi- 
tional six aliens in two groups of 
three provide an upper fifth row. 

Animation of the aliens is 
superb. Not only do they flap 
their wings as they march across 
the screen, but they attack the 
base by swooping down in 
singles and groups. They also 
drop missiles, represented by 
single graphics points, but their 
aim is poor. 

One or two people can play 
alternately. For the single player, 
the game goes into a demonstra- 
tion mode, with the computer 
controlling the aliens and the 
base. I have several complaints. 
The CPU is so busy with the 
display that there is often a 
delay between the space bar and 
the firing of missiles. That adds 
the frustrating element of luck to 
what should be a game of skill. 
The sound effects are the poorest 
of the three. 

(Invaders + , Level IV Products, 
32429 Schoolcraft Road, 
Livonia, MI 48150; $19.95 cas- 



sette, $24.95 disk. Invasion 
from Outer Space is sold by The 
Software Exchange, Milford, NH 
03055, which could not be 
reached for an update. Galaxy 
Invasion, Big Five Software, 
P.O. Box 9078-185, VanNuys, 
CA 91409; $15.95 cassette, 
$19.95 disk.) 

John T. Phillip 
August 1981 

Gambiet 
Microtrend, U.S.A. 

•^ ^ -A" % 

MyChess 

Programma International 

"^ "^ -^ 
Sargon II 
Hayden Book Co. 

•^ ^ -^ 
SFinks 

William A. Fink 
Model I 

A tournament among micro- 
computer chess programs— it 
sounds like a simple enough 
idea. The first hitch that I 
discovered is that there is much 
more to a computer chess tour- 
nament than determining which 
program wins the most games. 
Features such as speed, book 
moves, graphics, board set-up, 
and think-time display must also 
be considered. 

MyChess probably plays the 
strongest overall game. It plays 
aggressively and quickly, mak- 
ing the most of its moves in well 
under three minutes. The main 
pros of this program are think- 
ing on opponent's time, setting 
time limits and saving up to six 
in-progress games on a disk. The 
main cons are no think-time 



1« 



GAMES 



display, poor graphics, and an 
inadequate board set-up option 
(pieces can be moved and 
removed, but not created). 

SFinks plays the most conser- 
vative game of the four (games 
often stretch to 70 moves or 
more). It used more than the 
allowable three minutes per 
move while playing on the 
recommended tournament level. 
It seems to average about three 
minutes and 20 seconds per 
move at level 8. SFinks' stand- 
ing may have been different on a 
lower level of play. The graphics 
and think-time display are very 
good, and SFinks' is the only 
program that gives an audible 
signal to indicate the completion 
of a move. 

The fact that Gambiet 80 only 
won one game in the tourna- 
ment is not indicative of the 
strength of the program. It plays 
very competent chess and all its 
games were hard-fought battles. 
Its features are definitely the 
most impressive. The think-time 
display shows the move it is cur- 
rently considering, the best 
move it has found so far, and the 
number of moves left to 
evaluate. The chess clock, 
graphics, and minimum system 
requirement (16K Level II) are 
also pluses. 

Sargon II, although it is over a 
year old, still has a few things 
over the newer programs. It can 
be played on a 16K Level II. It is 
tied with SFinks as the least ex- 
pensive and it still has the 
easiest and most versatile set-up 
mode. Some of the new features 
such as printer option are lack- 
ing in good old Sargon II. 

All four of these programs play 
excellent chess, considering 
their size and clock speed. 
Anyone from a beginner to a 



fairly advanced player should be 
satisfied with any of these 
programs. 

(Sargon II, sold by Hayden Book 
Co., Rochelle Park, NJ 07662, is 
no longer available. MyChess is 
sold by Prograrnrna Interna- 
tional, $34.95, Canoga Park, CA 
91315, which could not be 
reached for an update. Gambiet 
was originally sold by 
Microtrend, U.S.A., $39.95, 
Louisville, KY 40202, which 
could not be reached for an up- 
date. SFinks 3.0 for the Model I 
and III is sold by William A. 
Fink, Lighthouse Point, FL 
33064, $39.95. An SFinks 
Chess Tutor sells for $19.95.) 

Randy Jenne 
December 1981 

•^ ^ ^ ■V2 

Gomoku 

Discovery Bay Software Co. 

Model I 

Gomoku, an ancient Japanese 
game, is a variation of tic-tac-toe. 
It is played on a 9-by-9 
multigrid, and the object is to 
place five of your markers in a 
row, either horizontally, vertical- 
ly, or diagonally. 

In typical tic-tac-toe games, 
once you've discovered the pat- 
tern or key, the results are 
predictable. Such is not tlie case 
with Gomoku. The computer 
has a strategy, but I have yet to 
win a game. 

The computer is slow in deter- 
mining its moves, but that is 
normal for a Basic program. The 
graphic layout of the board and 
the area where you enter your 
moves is well done. The com- 
puter even makes remarks such 
as "Tsk! Tsk!," "Uh-huh," and 
"Chuckle" during play. 

I rate a game program on how 



107 



SOFTWARE 



well it holds my interest and 
whether it makes me want to 
play it again. Gomoku is the 
kind of game I could play for 
hours; in fact, I have to force 
myself to stop. I give it a high 
rating. 

(Discovery Bay Software Co., 
P.O. Box 464, Port Townsend, 
WA 98368; $15.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 



Haunted House 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

Haunted House is short 
enough for a beginning adven- 
ture player, but needs the exper- 
tise of a professional; it is 
therefore not suitable for either. 

The instructions are very brief 
and the vocabulary is also 
limited. After using the enor- 
mous vocabulary of Hi-Res 
Adventures and Scott Adams 
adventures, I was frustrated not 
only by the small vocabulary, 
but also by the omission of stan- 
dard vocabulary such as Go. 
Use, and Throw. 

On a positive note, the game 
uses a sense of humor in solu- 
tions and responses. 

The object of the game is to 
get out of the haunted house 
alive. The game consists of two 
parts. In Part I you are on the 
first floor dodging levitating 
knives, looking for a secret pas- 
sage, and getting past animated 
suits of armor and fires. 

On the second floor, you find a 
magic sword and three ghosts, 
one to the west, one to the east, 
and one to the south. After 
destroying these three, you will 



discover a ghost to the west of 
the western-most ghost. You 
quickly realize he is immune to 
attack. To escape, you must 
move around the room in certain 
directions to trigger one of the 
entrances to open. 

Playing straight through, 
without any wasted commands, 
the program only takes six 
minutes to complete, and that 
includes loading time. It is suited 
to the beginner who will go on to 
bigger and better things. 

In conclusion, with the game's 
only plus being humor, and its 
minuses being limited instruc- 
tion, vocabulary, and short, game 
time (mostly because of its 
limited memory), I advise you to 
save your money for 16K or 
larger adventures. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; Model I and 
III cassette; $9.95.) 

David Williamson 
August 1981 



"5^ "^ "^ 

Hellfire Warrior 
Automated Simulations 
Model I 

Hellfire Warrior is the second 
in the Dunjonquest series of full-- 
length fantasy role-playing 
games produced by Automated 
Simulations {the first is the Tem- 
ple of Apshai). 

The object of the game is sim- 
ple: Wander through the maze, 
collect all treasure on all levels, 
buy advanced magical aids, pro- 
ceed to higher levels, and even- 
tually rescue the warrior maid 
Brunhilde held deep in the 
dungeon. Exit the maze with 
Brunhilde, treasure, and body 



108 



GAMES 



intact and you win. 

This game is perhaps unique 
in the fantasy game field 
because you have the option of 
creating your own character or 
bringing a favorite character 
from any other role-playing 
game with you to Hellfire to be 
your hero. 

The game's graphics consist of 
single-dimensional top-view 
representation of corridors and 
rooms found in the cave you 
venture into. The character ap- 
pears on the screen as a triangle 
created from graphics pixels, 
treasures are rectangles, and 
critters and nasties appear as 
squares of different sizes, which 
disintegrate into shooting rays 
when they are defeated. 

Hellfire Warriors is available 
on disk (32K, TRSDOS) and 
cassette (16K, Level II). It is writ- 
ten in Basic, which makes for 
slow graphics drawing and reac- 
tion time. However, the game is 
in real time, so you can't let your 
attention wander. 

The Book of Love is one of the 
most enjoyable things about this 
game. It is nicely illustrated, 
slickly presented, and makes for 
enjoyable reading, which is say- 
ing a lot for something that is 
software documentation. The 
directions and explanations are 
thorough and explicit. You 
should read the book completely 
before attempting to play 
the game. 

Hellfire Warriors is not easy to 
win. The beasties change types 
on each level, different magic is 
required, and there is enough 
going on when the graphics 
aren't being drawn to keep your 
interest up. On the whole, any 
true game fanatic will find this 
game intriguing and entertain- 
ing. It is a welcome change from 



adventure games without 

graphics. 

(Automated Simulations, P.O. 

Box 4247, Mountain View, CA 

94040; $39.95.) 

Debra Marshall 
October 1981 



-^ ^ ^ -^ 1/2 

Hypergate Centurion 

Hypergate Patrol 
Synergistic Solar Inc. 
Model I or III 

S5mergistic has developed two 
very sophisticated space simula- 
tions that require only 16K and 
yet are stimulating to even the 
best space cadet. 

In Hypergate Patrol, you are 
the captain of a very small patrol 
vessel wandering through the 
galaxy at the command of the 
Hypergate Centurion. In 
Hypergate Centurion, you con- 
trol several Hypergate Patrol 
ships and a plasma weapon that 
spans the universe. The in- 
habitants of both games are 
identical, but the strategy is very 
different. 

In Hypergate Patrol, nine 
quadrants and five galaxies 
make up your patrol universe. 
The galaxies are all joined in the 
center by a Hypergate. By enter- 
ing the Hypergate at different 
angles, you can travel from one 
galaxy to another. Your perfor- 
mance is rated on a merit- 
demerit system. Killing the 
enemy rates five merits while 
killing an ally rates five 
demerits. You need a ratio of 7 to 
1 to survive. The game is played 
in real time and you must com- 
plete your mission within a 
specified amount of cycles. 



109 



SOFTWARE 



The video display is divided in- 
to seven sections, providing all 
the vital information. Your ship 
features a variety of weapons, 
and a call to the Hypergate Cen- 
turion is always possible if you 
find yourself in a tight spot. 

Hypergate Centurion is a 
machine-language, multi-level, 
space simulation of the highest 
degree. You are buried deep 
within an asteroid and control 
15 quadrants of space. You have 
a fleet of five seekers in the 
hanger bay, ready to be dis- 
patched with any of five different 
orders. 

As each object enters your 
jurisdiction area it is assigned a 
number. You can scan the area 
in four different ways— £irea, 
quadrant, tactical, or interroga- 
tion. This gives a variety of 
magnification and types of infor- 
mation depending on the scan. 

Documentation for these two 
games consists of 45 pages of in- 
stnictions in the form of an 
operations manual full of Cen- 
turion secrets. These are not 
arcade-type games, but simula- 
tions requiring skill, logic, and 
mental expertise. Even though 
they require only 16K, they are 
first class and offer a challenge 
that won't be mastered in one 
sitting. 

(Synergistic Solar Inc., Box 
560595, Miami, FL 33156; 
$39.95.) 

Mark E. Renne 
December 1982 



The Institute 

Med Systems Software 

Model I or III 

The Institute is a unique entry 
into the market from the com- 



pany that brought us 3-D adven- 
tures. It is not 3-D nor does it 
have any similarity with Asy- 
lum, Labyrinth, or Deathmaze. 
Graphics are used only for 
decoration or to signify dramatic 
changes in the plot. However, 
it's one of the finest adventure 
games I've ever played. 

The disk version is self-booting 
on either Model I or III. There are 
10 sections on which to save 
games in progress and a lengthy 
comment to describe where you 
left off. Saving and loading 
games is fast and easy. 

At the top of the screen are 
visible items, if any; a descrip- 
tion of the room or its contents is 
next. Your input is entered at 
the next level, followed by an 
area which displays the result of 
"talks," "listens," or special hap- 
penings. While "talk" and 
"listen" are commands that 
most adventures do not use, in 
this one they are probably the 
most important. That's right, 
you talk to characters (dwarves, 
counselors, midgets) and they 
talk back. If you don't keep your 
ears open, you'll never get 
anywhere. 

Upon entering a room, you 
normally look about to receive 
more information. Sometimes a 
door or another exit shows up, 
sometimes not. To examine an 
item, you "look" at it and if 
you're lucky you will find 
something interesting. There are 
many exits that are not in- 
dicated in any manner at all; 
they are found by trying all di- 
rections from each room. 
Nobody said this game was easy. 

The input routine is very 
critical; descriptions must match 
exactly or no action occurs. The 
clues within the game and ac- 
tions required are very subtle. 



I i \J 



GAMES 



Multiple "looks" are required for 
shelves with more than one 
item, also. 

The game has five different 
levels. The first one is your start- 
ing point at The Institute. By use 
of a strange powder, you 
physically enter your dreams to 
complete your escape. Dreams 
include a giant forest on another 
planet, a voyage on the Titanic, 
an ancient temple, and a prehis- 
toric forest. It's much like five 
adventures in one. Sometimes 
you must be killed to wake up or 
pass into the next dream, 
though if killed you keep what- 
ever inventory you had and start 
over— nice feature! 

This game is tough for even 
experienced players. I enjoyed 
the changes in syntax, screen 
design, and vocabulary. The 
"talk" and "listen" features add 
a whole new spectrum to play; 
the graphics are well placed and 
serve a very worthwhile pur* 
pose. For a 16K adventure, The 
Institute is one of the best. 
(Med Systems Software, P.O. 
Box 3558, Chapel Hill, NC 
27514; $21.95 disk, $19.95 
cassette.) 

Mark E. Renne 
September 1982 



Interlude; The Ultimate Ex- 
perience 

Syntonic Software Corp, 
Model I 

Silicon pundits have told us 
for a long time that computers 
will play a major role in our 
changing lives. We will see the 
advent of electronic mail, elec- 
tronic money, even electronic 
crime. It seems to me that if the 



devilish device is ever to be 
mainlined into our culture, it 
must service more basic needs 
than game playing and accounts 
payable. Something really basic, 
for example, like sex. 

Tlie time has come. The era of 
home computer sex is finally at 
hand, brought to you by Syn- 
tonic Software, a forward-looking 
subsidiary of Software 
Technology Inc. These people 
are not above pandering to your 
prurient instincts for a buck, or 
19 bucks, actually. 

Billed as the ultimate ex- 
perience, the Interlude package 
is a curious piece of software for 
several reasons, not the least of 
which is the unmitigated gall the 
folks at Syntonic were able to 
muster to market this X-rated 
program in the first place. 

In essence. Interlude is a well- 
structured interview designed to 
plumb the depths of your sexual 
preferences in 10 probing ques- 
tions, after which it refers you to 
a book of "interludes" that ac- 
companies the software. 

The paper-bound, 96-page 
volume of interludes contains 
106 elaborate sexual scenarios, 
written with acute attention to 
detail. Titles indicate content. 
For instance, "Wet Fun On A 
Hot Summer Night," "Good 
Vibrations," "Fellatio By 
Firelight," "Caveman," "My 
Way," "Satin Chains," "Macho 
Man." The list goes on. 

If the computer-suggested in- 
terlude suits your fancy (or fan- 
tasy), you may opt to act out the 
scenario. In addition, certain in- 
terludes are stored in the com- 
puter and do not appear in the 
book. Getting one of these gems 
is apparently cause for self- 
congratulation. Your answers 
must have been outstanding! 



Ill 



SOFTWARE 



This computerized extension 
of spin the bottle is not a revolu- 
tionary premise but is, one has 
to admit, an unusual application 
for the home computer and cer- 
tainly not what the gang at Tan- 
dy had in mind. 

The software algorithm of this 
machine-language program is 
straightforward. The interview 
format is logical, and all ques- 
tions require a numerical 
answer, indicative of the degree 
of enthusiasm the respondent 
demonstrates. Some of the 
milder examples are: 

How complicated do you want 
this interlude to be? 

1 . Back to basics. 

2. Keep it fairly simple. 

3. I'm not choosy. 

4. Maybe a small production. 

5. I'm ready for a really big 
show! 

-or- 

If you were a movie, which 
would you be? 

1. Pillow Talk 

2. Tom Jones 

3. Gone with the Wind 

4. Superman 

5. A Streetcar Named Desire 

6. Fellini's Satyricon 
After answering several of 

these thought-provoking ques- 
tions, the computer gets down to 
the nitty-gritty and quizzes you 
on specifics, hopefully picking 
up on your mores, folkways, and 
taboos. Your scalar answers are 
then processed, and an interlude 
indicative of your final tally is 
suggested. 

The program is fairly interac- 
tive. Suzy, one of our foxiest sec- 
retaries here at 80 Micro, dis- 
played so little enthusiasm dur- 
ing one interview session that 
she was directed to interlude 
number 29: Stay home alone 
and curl up with a good book. 

112 



For all its daring, the Interlude 
package is fairly tame in its at- 
titude toward sexual encounters. 
The maximum number of par- 
ticipants in any interlude is 
limited to two, so no free- 
swinging group gropes are possi- 
ble. Furthermore, all interludes 
are strictly heterosexual. No gay 
or even bisexual interludes are 
allowed. 

Syntonic's marketing has 
raised eyebrows in the industry, 
and their full-page living color 
ads have elicited both pro and 
con responses from readers. A 
few irate subscribers have taken 
offense at the quasi-naked lady 
approach Syntonic uses in their 
promotions and canceled. 
Generally, most readers seem 
curious or amused, rather than 
indignant. This may be just 
another indication of the 
decadence of the electronic age. 

There you have it— Interlude: 
The Ultimate Experience. The 
first microcomputer-based adult 
computer program. Will it be a 
milestone in microcomputer soft- 
ware, or just another trendy 
diversion? Time will tell. 

What's next? A microproces- 
sor-controlled, RS-232- 
compatible love doll, perhaps. 
Welcome to the micro-millenia. 
(Interlude: The Ultimate Ex- 
perience is sold by Syntonic 
Software Corp., Houston, TX 
77052, cassette $18.95, disk 
$21.95.) 

Chris Brown 
September 1980 




GAMES 



Invaders From Space 

■^ "^ "^ ■^ 

Pinball 

Acom Software Products Inc. 

Model I and III 



Pinball realistically simulates 
the feeling of being in the finest 
pinball palace. The action is 
so real that you find yourself 
rocking the keyboard. It's a 
good thing the program doesn't 
say tilt. 

As anticipated, the ball is 
square instead of round. The 
space bar shoots the ball just 
like the plunger. The length of 
time you hold down the bar de- 
termines the speed at which the 
ball enters the playing area. Ball 
travel is extremely natural, and 
even accounts for the slightest 
gravitational effect. In fact, you 
can even catch the ball by the 
tip of the flipper to deflect it. 

Sound effects are not fancy, 
but are more than adequate. The 
right side of the screen displays 
your score, bonus points award- 
ed, and the best score of the 
games played during the 
session. 

We've played all of the 
invader-type games, and In- 
vaders From Space, without 
question, comes closest to 
duplicating the original arcade 
game on a TRS-80. 

The format stays close to the 
arcade version, with the invader 
munchkins descending down 
the screen to attack your bases. 
You can determine the number 
of bases, game speed, the 
number of shots that you can 
have on the screen at any one 
time, the number of bombs fired 
back at you, and their accuracy. 
This makes it possible for 



players of all abilities to play at a 
comparable level of competition. 

To beat the invaders, you 
must score 655,350. If nothing 
else, think of all the quarters you 
will be saving while trying to 
reach this goal! 

(Acorn Software Products Inc., 
634 North Carolina Ave., 
Washington, DC 20003; $14.95 
cassette, $20.95 disk, each.) 

Dan Keen 

Dave Dischert 

April 1981 



■^. '^' ""^ "^ 
Invaders Plus 
Level IV Products Inc. 
Model I and III 

I have been eagerly awaiting a 
good TRS-80 imitation of Space 
Invaders, and Invaders Plus is it. 

One feature of this game is 
that if you hook your AUX plug 
into an audio amplifier before 
starting, you will listen to a fine 
rendition of the theme song from 
Star Wars. This is amusing the 
first few times, but since it can't 
be bypassed, it soon become a 
nuisance. 

There are nine levels of play, 
which graduate in difficulty. 
After selecting your level of play, 
the screen fills with the first 
wave of 49 invaders. Each of 
these marauding meanies is 
depicted complete with blinking 
eyes and animated movements. 

The object of the game is to 
terminate the invaders before 
they send you to an early grave. 
Should you be successful clear- 
ing a wave of invaders, you are 
treated to a screenful of even 
deadlier demons. These at- 
tackers drop more bombs and 
move more quickly, making 
them harder to kill than the 



113 



SOFTWARE 



preceding group. 

Unlike Space Invaders, where 
the number of screens is only 
hindered by the player's skill. In- 
vaders Plus offers you only four 
waves of persistent pests. After 
killing all four groups, you have 
the title of Hero bestowed upon 
you via the computer. 

Invaders Plus is far superior to 
any other invader program I've 
seen- This is a truly magnificent 
programming effort by Larry 
Ashmun, and well worth the 
asking price, 

(Level IV Products Inc., 32429 
Schoolcraft Road, Livonia, MI 
48150; is no longer marketing 
Invaders Plus.) 

Owen Linzmayer 
April 1981 

Invasion from Outer Space 
(See Page 105) 

Invaders Plus 
(See Page 105) 



And it will improve your 
memory. 

The name is taken from 
Rudyard Kipling's novel, Kim, 
whose title character plays a 
memory game in which he tries 
to remember objects on a tray. 
But there is a huge difference 
between remembering physical 
objects and remembering words, 
which is what you must do in 
this game. The former is visually 
exciting, but words on a com- 
puter screen are dry, static, flat, 
and lifeless. 

Ultimately, Kim's Game 
becomes Kim's Endurance Test. 
An improved memory may have 
its advantages, but this program 
makes forgetfulness look like an 
attractive alternative. 
(General Computer Co., 4873 
Langerlxine, Woodbridge, VA 
22193; $19.95 cassette, $24.95 
disk.) 

Eric Maloney 
May 1981 



Kim's Game 
General Computer Co, 
Model I 

Put this program, a keg of 
beer, and 20 friends in your liv- 
ing room, and what have you 
got? The last party of yours that 
those people will ever come to, 

Kim's Game, the "mind- 
expanding game of memory and 
recall," combines the excitement 
of math drills with the gaiety of 
Roget's Thesaurus to provide 
you and your guests with hours 
of unrelenting boredom. 

In all fairness to General Com- 
puter, Kim's Game is far from 
shoddy. It is well-produced and 
well-packaged, and the manual 
includes the Basic source listing. 



Labyrinth 

Med Systems Software 

Model I and III 

Lab5n-inth is Frank Corr's (and 
friends') second excursion into 
the dark, dim corridors of three- 
dimensional graphics— kind of. 

There are more hallways, 
more boxes full of junk, more 
empty rooms, and a good selec- 
tion of pits, as well. Labyrinth 
looks like Deathmaze, and the 
information sheet that comes 
with it is equally brief and bare 
of help or hints. But that's 
okay— finding commands that 
work is part of the mystery of 
this adventure. If you get 
stuck— really, truly en- 
gulfed—the Med Systems people 



I I m^ 



GAMES 



are very nice about giving hints. 

I've walked for hours in circles 
before realizing what I was do- 
ing. Like Deathmaze, this game 
has to be mapped— if you can do 
it. The fog makes it difficult to 
see, or get through, certain parts 
of the maze. And this is the only 
place I've ever visited where you 
can jump into a pit and come up 
somewhere on the very same 
level you jumped from. Mapping 
this maze is like putting together 
parts of a jigsaw puzzle. Expect 
to spend many hours doing it. 

The mapping has to be care- 
fully done in sections. And 
prepare to suspend your normal 
perceptions. Up isn't necessarily 
up, it may be over, and down is 
usually a quick route to some^ 
where you wish you weren't. 
The labyrinth seems to overlap 
itself in at least one spot. 

Be sure to bring along some 
extra torches and a picnic basket 
or two. If you don't, you're going 
to have to search for them, and 
they're very well hidden, as are 
several nasty surprises that 
you'll just happen upon on your 
way. You'll have your pockets 
full of junk by then; maybe some 
of it will come in handy, 
handy. 

(Med Systems Software, P.O. 
Box 3558, Chapel Hill, NC 
27514; $14.95 cassette, $1 7.95 
disk.) 

Debra Marshall 
August 1981 



• ••1/2 

Laser Defense 

Med Systems Software 

Model I and III 

Laser Defense is Med Systems' 
first attempt at an arcade-type 
game and they score big. This is 



not just another version of 
Missile Command; it's a totally 
original game. 

Your mission is to keep 
missiles from destroying your 
cities while destroying Russian 
launching stations. This game is 
a combination of strategy and ar- 
cade fun. You begin with six 
cities and four hovering 
satellites, while your computer 
enemy has 12 silos and an 
unlimited number of particle- 
beam weapons traveling on MX 
tracks. These weapons appear at 
intervals to fire at your satellites. 
Two views or maps are available 
to you: one of the United States 
and a Europe/Soviet Union map. 
The U.S. map indicates cities 
and incoming ICBMs. To destroy 
a missile in flight, you position 
your sight with the arrow keys 
and fire with the space bar. If the 
nuclear blast is close enough, 
the incoming missile is 
destroyed and your city saved. 
When all the cities are 
destroyed, the game is over. 

Your ultimate weapon against 
ICBMs is the eradicator. It is 
engaged by pressing E, and 
destroys any missiles in flight 
immediately. Should you hap- 
pen to survive the first wave of 
silos, you will be awarded a 
bonus of 200 points for remain- 
ing cities and 10 points for any 
remaining energy units. Laser 
energy is refilled and another 
wave begins. As you go through 
each wave, you face an enemy 
that becomes more difficult to 
defeat. Missiles are launched 
faster, in greater numbers and 
particle weapons appear more 
often. 

Fast reflexes, marvelous finger 
coordination, and a methodical 
plan of attack improve scores. 
Both maps feature full wrap- 

115 



SOFTWARE 



around, and mastering this 
aspect of the game makes a big 
difference in the latter stages. 

This is a machine-language 
game for one or two players, and 
the top five scores are saved on 
the disk version. Complete 
sound effects are featured, in- 
cluding an indication that a 
particle-beam weapon has ap- 
peared. This game has 10 
degrees of difficulty. At the 
highest, it shows just how fast 
machine language can be. 

The game is fun, works well, 
and presents a challenge even 
after several hundred plays. It's 
a super original arcade game 
designed for the TRS-80. 
(Med Systems Software, P.O. 
Box 3558, Chapel Hill, NC 
27514; $15.95 cassette, $18.95 
disk.) 

Mark E. Renne 
August 1982 



Local Call for Death 
(See Page 100) 



■^ -^ ^ 1/2 

Maces & Magic 
Adventure International & 
Chameleon Software 
Model I and III 

The Maces & Magic series con- 
sists of three adventures: Balrog, 
Stone of Sisyphus, and Morton's 
Fork. The difference between 
this series and other adventure- 
type games on the market is 
their cross with role-playing 
games. Your character is unique 
in structure, and events occur 
differently depending on your 
own attributes. 

The games may be played in 
any order or separately. You 
begin in the general store. Here 



you will roll up a character and 
arm him for future battles 
against evil. Individual attributes 
are strength, IQ, luck, constitu- 
tion, dexterity, and charisma. If 
you've played Dungeons & 
Dragons or Runequest, you'll 
recognize these characteristics; 
they have the same function 
here as they do in those games. 

Now comes the time to choose 
a weapon. There are 80 different 
weapons. Each has a name and 
power, weight, cost, dexterity, 
and strength ratings. Weapons 
do different degrees of damage 
depending on their power. Ar- 
mor is then chosen in the same 
way. The best costs more, 
weighs more, and protects more. 
There are more than 25 types of 
armor. 

Commands are all one letter 
and include (G)et, (L)eave, 
(P)ack, (H)elp, (S)tatus, (W)ait, 
(I)nventory, and {*)save game. 
Playing the game is much like 
playing most adventures, with a 
few twists. You find objects and 
try to manipulate them correct- 
ly. The rooms or locations are 
loaded one at a time off disk. 
This means the computer con- 
stantly accesses the disk if 
you're moving along quickly. 
Your options are all listed on the 
screen. 

The game is fun and a nice 
blend of adventure and chance. 
My only complaint is that it's 
written in Basic; it's very slow. 
The game seems unbearably 
slow when saving a game as you 
must traverse different programs 
to accomplish this. It comes with 
excellent documentation and 
loading instructions. If you have 
a Model III and are using 
TRSDOS 1 .3, patch your DOS to 
allow killing one file while 
another is open. Aside from the 



116 



GAMES 



speed, I would recommend these 
games without reservation to 
role-playing computerists. 
(Adventure International & 
Chameleon Software, Box 3435, 
Longwood, FL 32750; $29.95 
each, disk.) 

Mark E. Renne 
August 1982 



■^ -^ -^ -^ 
Master Reversi 
Instant Software Inc. 

■^ ^ ^ ^ V2 

Odin 

Odesta Publishing 

Model I and III 

Master Reversi and Odin are 
two microcomputer versions of 
the popular board game Othello. 
The games, like Othello, are 
played on an 8-by-8 grid, similar 
to a chess board. Unlike chess, 
pieces are not moved after being 
set on the grid. Your object is to 
occupy territory by placing 
pieces on the board and trapping 
your opponent's pieces between 
them. Once trapped, an oppo- 
nent's piece is flipped over, re- 
versing its color. 

Master Reversi requires a 32K 
Model I with one disk drive. It 
has nine skill levels, and an 
easy-to-understand manual. The 
game responds quickly up to the 
fourth or fifth level; but the 
response time increases for the 
higher levels, typical of heuristic, 
tree-searching algorithms. You 
can change the level of play at 
any time during the game. 
Master Reversi has a tournament 
clock and lets you play the com- 
puter or another person. 

This game uses the arrow keys 
for positioning the flashing cur- 
sor. I prefer this to Odin's 



method, which uses numbers to 
choose the square. There are 
several options included, the 
nicest of which is the output to 
the printer. 

Master Reversi's thinking 
mode lets you see what Aldaron 
(the computer) is thinking. What 
you see ranges from the last 
board positions to the moves 
Aldaron is considering and how 
highly he values them. Aldaron 
also lets you set up possible 
board positions and analyze 
them. In fact, you can have five 
different board positions in 
memory at once. You can 
display or review the moves 
made during the game, either in 
standard Review notation or 
with the board itself. 

Master Reversi's tournament 
mode is for serious players. In 
this mode, Aldaron thinks on 
your time, plays in accordance 
to tournament rules, and uses 
book openings. I prefer this 
mode. Master Reversi plays a 
good game. Although its 
response time is slightly slower 
than Odin's, it is better than 
most Othello games I have seen. 

Odin also requires a 32K 
Model I with a disk drive. Its 
well-written manual includes a 
complete description of rules, 
history, and strategy. Odin 
automatically displays your 
possible legal moves when it is 
your turn and has a number of 
options, although not as many 
as Master Reversi. 

The tutor mode displays all 
your moves, with Odin's opinion 
of their relative worth. This 
mode reflects Odin's opinion of 
the immediate situation without 
considering future moves, so it is 
of little help except to the novice. 
In the principal variation mode, 
Odin shows the move he thinks 



117 



SOFTWARE 



is best for you, what his counter 
move will be, and so on, for the 
number of moves equal to the 
depth of the search. The tourna- 
ment level works only if you 
have a 3x speedup modification. 
Level B, however, plays approx- 
imately within the 25-minutes- 
per-player limit used in tour- 
naments. 

Odin plays more competitively 
and beats me more often than 
Master Reversi. It doesn't, 
however, have the options found 
in Master Reversi, and sorely 
lacks the printer-output option. I 
prefer Master Reversi's method 
of choosing squares for moves to 
Odin's name-that-square ap- 
proach. Both play a good, solid 
game and have ample skill levels 
to keep you busy for quite a 
while. 

(Instant Software Inc., Peter- 
borough, NH 03458; $29.95. 
Odesta Publishing, 930 Pitner, 
Evanston, IL 60202; $34.95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
November 1982 

Meteoroids 
(See Page 93) 

^ -^ -^ 
Microcosm III 
Basics and Beyond Inc. 
Model I and III 

Microcosm III is a collection of 
20 programs with sound. At 
least four of these programs 
alone (Pinball, Submarine, 
Knockout, and Battleship) are 
worth $15. 

Pinball, the most worthwhile 
program of the series, is a 
machine-code game with very 
fast graphics with a spinning 
pinwheel and assorted other 
goodies: various bleeps and 



bloops as the ball bounces 
around. 

Submarine lets you try to sink 
ships through a periscope view. 
It has very nice and quick 
graphics with ships that fight 
back and try to sink you with 
depth charges. 

Knockout displays six rows of 
bricks on the left side of the 
screen. The object is to knock 
out all the bricks by hitting them 
with a bouncing ball. You re- 
bound the ball by controlling a 
paddle that moves up and down 
the left side of the screen. It has 
fast graphics for a game written 
in Basic. 

Battleship is a computer ver- 
sion of the popular paper and 
pencil game with a selectable 
size grid. The computer goes 
after a kill when two portions of 
your ship are found. This game 
can be played against another 
person. It is enjoyable to play 
but, unfortunately, if the com- 
puter wins, it doesn't show you 
where its ships were 
placed— very frustrating when 
you have been unable to find 
them' during the game. 

The other programs included 
are: Computer Composer, Long 
Division, Multiplication, Typing 
Tutor, Cliff Hanger, Crossword 
Puzzler, Key Sound, Computer 
Organ, Children's Hour, Message 
Marque, Gunfight, Seige, Instant 
Replay, Monster Chase, and 
Shootout. 

Even if, as I suggest, a little 
less than half of these programs 
are worth $10 or $15, you can 
wind up ahead. For $29.95 it is 
still a good buy. 
(Basics and Beyond Inc., 
Amawalk, NY 10501; currently 
$29.95.) 

Carl A. Kollar 
January 1982 



118 



GAMES 



^ ^ ^ 

Micro-opoly 

Level IV Products Mc. 

Model I 

Computer games usually elim- 
inate the aggravating paper- 
shuffling and bookkeeping that 
takes the fun out of a game. 
With Micro-opoly you get the 
added bonus of an honest 
banker. 

The single sheet of typeset in- 
structions will not answer all 
your questions. Assuming you 
have an understanding of the 
Parker Brothers board game 
Monopoly, however, you can 
figure out what's happening. 

New zoning ordinances were 
passed for this game. You do not 
need to own all the property in a 
color sequence to build on any 
square you own (just enter your 
answers through INKEY$), and 
while the computer is limited to 
buying houses for only one prop- 
erty at a time, you can buy up to 
four houses or a hotel for as 
many squares as your bankroll 
will allow. 

If you land on computer prop- 
erty, you'll have to pay rent. If 
you are forced into debt by any 
payments, the computer re- 
quires you to sell houses or 
hotels until you have a positive 
balance. You also have the op- 
tion of continuing to sell proper- 
ty until you have sufficient cash 
on hand to feel safe. 

Purists will decry some rule 
changes— automatic and imme- 
diate payments are required 
when you land in jail, there is no 
Get Out of Jail Free card, houses 
are sold back to the bank for full 
(not half) price, and so on— but 
for the most part Micro-opoly 
leads to an interesting game 
with a reasonable time frame. 



And there's no arguing about 
who picks up the game and puts 
it away. 

(Level IV Products Inc., 32429 
Schoolcrctft Road, Livonia, MI 
48150; $14.95 disk.) 

Alan and Nick Grassel 
October 1980 



Midway Campaign 
Avalon Hill 
Model I 

Midway Campaign is one of 
those games that on the surface 
seems laughably simple, but 
through playing, proves to be 
anything but. With all the 
graphics in use today, the lack of 
them in Midway Campaign is 
striking. Play is text-oriented 
with the only graphics being a 
12-by-i2 grid of dots. These por- 
tray a map of the Pacific Ocean 
around the island of Midway. 
The two American task forces 
and Midway are under the 
player's control. The computer 
controls the three Japanese 
naval groups. 

At the beginning of the game, 
the American units are placed in 
their historic positions. Japanese 
forces are on the map but not 
shown. Even though the Amer- 
ican forces are visible to the 
player, the computer does not 
know where they are. It, too, 
must perform searches to locate 
the enemy. 

First, the player issues a Fleet 
command. There are four Fleet 
commands that display the map, 
the status of American aircraft 
carriers, change the heading of 
the task forces, and conduct air- 
craft operations. The computer 
remains in an interactive mode 
until an integer number is 



119 



SOFTWARE 



entered. This represents the 
length of time (in hours) the 
player wishes to play. 

Next, the computer takes over. 
It moves American forces in ac- 
cordance to Fleet commands, 
decides upon and executes 
Japanese actions, conducts 
searches and combat (if any), 
and checks for the end of game. 
Unfortunately, this can be rather 
lengthy, and with no graphics 
involved, the player has no 
recourse except to sit and wait. 
This waiting, in my opinion, is 
the game's major flaw. 

There is, however, enough in 
the way of realistic decision- 
making to keep the game inter- 
esting. Tactical decisions will 
have a great bearing on its out- 
come. A minor oversight can 
result in a sunk carrier. The 
computer plays a very good 
game as the Japanese com- 
mander and is not easy to beat, 

Midway Campaign is written 
in Basic. It comes with four 
pages of rules, historical 
background, examples of play, 
and instructions for loading and 
running the program. I would 
recommend Midway Campaign 
to those new to conflict simula- 
tion. Advanced game strategists 
will probably tire of it quickly. 
(Midway Campaign is sold by 
AvalonHill, Dept. C-10, 4517 
Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 
21214; $16 for cassette, $21 for 
disk.) 

David Tinis 
June 1981 

"A" /^ 

Mind Thrust 
Hayden Software Div. 
Model I 

Here at the office, the first 
reaction to Mind Thrust was. 



"Too simple. What's the point?" 
Mind Thnist is simple, all right. 
Unfortunately, it is also 
simplistic. 

Mind Thrust reminds you 
vaguely of Othello. You are given 
a 6 by 8 grid on which you and 
the computer each place five 
pieces. Then, taking turns plac- 
ing pieces, you each try to form 
a chain from end to end, or 
eliminate each other's pieces by 
attacking. 

You can attack any piece 
touching one of yours. But the 
computer can defend some of its 
pieces. If you have a choice of 
five pieces to attack, the com- 
puter can defend three. If you at- 
tack a piece it chooses not to de- 
fend, it loses the piece. If the 
computer defends successfully, 
you lose your piece, all those ad- 
jacent to it, and any left isolated. 
The computer can also attack. 

The computer does not think 
strategically. Its opening moves 
are random; in some cases you 
can form a chain and win un- 
challenged. Also, the computer 
has no idea when to attack; it 
will plod along trying to form a 
chain when attack is its only 
hope of winning. Also, when you 
attack, your choice of which 
piece to go after is strictly a mat- 
ter of guesswork. The computer 
uses no strategy when it 
defends. 

Finally, you cannot develop 
any logical plan of defense. The 
computer randomly decides 
which of your pieces it will at- 
tack; you must randomly decide 
which ones to protect. 

The game is not a bad idea 
and could be fairly entertaining 
if the computer were pro- 
grammed with some more 
smarts. But as it is now. Mind 
Thrust falls somewhere between 



IZw 



GAMES 



being a game of chance and a 
game of strategy, providing the 
satisfactions of neither. It offers 
about one thrill every hour, if 
you can sit still that long. 
(Hayden Software Div., 50 
Essex St., Rochelle Park, NJ 
07662; $16.95, Level II, 16K re- 
quired.) 

Eric MaJoney 
August 1982 

"^ "^ "^ "^ 

Mod II Games 

Small Business Systems 

Group 

Model II 

The fact tfiat you own Tandy's 
most expensive business 
machine doesn't mean you 
shouldn't be able to play com- 
puter games every now and 
then. Let's face it— Mod II 
owners are people, too, and there 
is nothing like a good computer 
game to reestablish friendship 
with a dull business machine. 

Small Business Systems 
Group has had an excellent 
package of Model II games 
available for some time. It in- 
cludes Star Trek, Checkers, Con- 
centration, Treasure Hunt, 
Banko, and Dog Star Adventure. 

The Star Trek game is a 
superior example of the genre, 
demanding both strategic plan- 
ning and tactical know-how. It is 
complicated enough to be 
absorbing, but not so demand- 
ing that it is boring. 

Dog Star Adventure also rates 
as a top game. Even a jaded 
computer adventurer will find 
those dastardly twists and 
shocking surprises entertaining. 

Banko is essentially a Black 
Jack game, with the computer 
as a dealer playing to win. 



The remaining games on the 
disk I can live without. While 
they are well-written. I can't get 
excited about Checkers or Con- 
centration under any cir- 
cumstances. All the programs 
were well-documented, and con- 
tain no bugs or glitches. 

This Lance Micklus package 
can be a real eye-opener for the 
business-minded Model II owner. 
(Small Business Systems 
Group, 6 Carlisle Road, 
Westford, MA 01886; $75.) 

Paul Grupp 
May 1982 

MyChess 
(See Page 106) 

New Starship Voyages 
(See Page 85) 

North Atlantic Convoy Raider 
(See Page 90) 

Nukewar 
(See Page 90) 

Odin 
(Seepage 117) 

On His Majesty's 
Ship Impetuous 
(See Page 100) 

^ ^ ^ Va 
Paddle Pinball 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I and IH 

Radio Shack scores high with 
this excellent game, the best 
feature of which is the option to 
change the playfield. In fact, you 
can create and save dozens of 
different layouts and load any of 
them once Paddle Pinball is 



121 



SOFTWARE 



aboard. The game also features 
lively sound effects, which 
operate on games of your own 
design as well as the game pro- 
vided. The program is in 
machine language and comes on 
cassette. 

The play combines pinball- 
style action with a paddle that 
you guide across the bottom us- 
ing the left/right arrows. You 
control the direction of the ball's 
rebound by bouncing it off dif- 
ferent segments of the paddle. 
The shift key speeds paddle 
movement. 

The object is to amass points, 
of course, but also, if more than 
one person plays, to score 
credits, which entitle you to an 
extra game. There is also a 
music block, which starts with 
the number 2 in it. The number 
augments each time you hit a 
corner of the box, and you are 
rewarded with a tune consisting 
of that many notes. 

You can modify the playfield 
with the keyboard arrows. You 
can also create bonus dots, and 
you can save the field you design 
on cassette. 

Paddle Pinball is a clever and 
creative program, well worth the 
modest price if you like arcade- 
type games. 

(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $9.95.) 

Charles Gulick 
February 1982 



Parsector 8 
(See Page 85) 

1^ ^ -^ 1/2 

Peisetrator 

Melbourne House Software 

Model ! and III 

Penetrator is loosely based on 

122 



the arcade game Defender. You 
are the sole survivor of a fighter 
squadron whose mission is to 
make it through four defense 
rings and blow up an illegal 
cache of neutron bombs. Along 
the way you face anti-aircraft 
missiles, radar installations, and 
paratroopers; it's enough to give 
Al Haig goosebumps. 

This is a game of skill; your 
craft always moves forward with 
only momentary thrust and 
braking at your disposal. Your 
weapons are forward missiles 
and bombs, via the right arrow 
and space bar respectively. Tim- 
ing is critical on the bomb drops; 
they are used primarily on the 
radar installations you must 
destroy to avoid detection, and 
are also your only means of 
destroying the neutron bombs. 

The landscape is as 
treacherous as your enemies. 
Certain spots require precise 
braking and maneuvering. In 
many places there is no room for 
error, especially if you have to 
avoid enemy missiles as well 

But this is where the best 
feature of Penetrator comes in; 
you can make custom land- 
scapes to suit your ability, 
removing difficult areas and add- 
ing or subtracting missiles and 
radar bases. This landscape edit- 
ing takes a few minutes, but it is 
a unique way of providing differ- 
ent difficulty ratings in a com- 
puter game. Another good fea- 
ture is the training mode. You 
can play continuously until you 
get the hang of the game; it's 
as close to immortality as 
you'll get. 

The graphics, similar to 
Adventure International's 
Eliminator, are about as good as 
is possible on the TRS-80, and 
the sound is great.The documen* 



GAMES 



tation is better than it probably 
has to be— a small booklet in- 
stead of a one- or two-page in- 
struction sheet. 

Although I enjoyed this game, 
I didn't like having the thrust 
and fire control on the same key 
(right arrow). This prevents fir- 
ing while thrusting and occa- 
sionally results in an unwanted 
thrust. Although I didn't use a 
joystick, I don't see how using 
one would be an improvement: 
to fire, you jiggle the stick to the 
right and hold it continuously 
for thrust. 

Penetrator is a very well done 
game program and worth the 
asking price. 

(Melbourne House Software Inc.. 
Dept CS, 347 Reedwood Drive, 
Nashville, TN 3721 7; $24.95, 
disk or cassette.) 

Michael E. Nadeau 
September 1982 



Pinball 

(See Page 1 13) 



■^ -^ ^ V2 
Planet Miners 
Avalon Hill 
Model I and III 

Planet Miners is Avalon Hill's 
first effort at a microcomputer 
game outside the strategic war 
genre and is an excellent exam- 
ple of thorough programming. 
The game's scenario is a 
futuristic Gold Rush. You have 
five ships, their opponents, and a 
limited amount of mining claims 
to try for. To add realism to the 
game, the playing options in- 
clude claim jumping, protesting 
claims, and sabotage. 

The game is for zero to four 



players, zero being the computer 
versus itself. It requires 16K of 
RAM and works on either a 
Level II Model I or a Model III. 

I noticed two detachments 
from reality in the game. One is 
that there are 10 planets in the 
solar system (the addition being 
Ceres), and the second is that 
once you set a ship's destination 
and it takes off, you can't alter 
the destination until the ship ar- 
rives. This adds some spice in 
some situations. 

When attempting sabotage or 
a claim jump, keep in mind that 
the Space Patrol might arrest 
you if you are caught in the act. 
If no Patrol ships are around and 
your opponent catches you, your 
ship crew will be detained and 
tortured by your would-be 
victim. 

The scars still show, and Fve 
become a wary miner indeed (I 
told you it is realistic). Planet 
Miners is an exceptional buy. 
(Avalon Hill, Dept. C-10, 4517 
Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 
21214; $16 cassette, $21 disk.) 

Darren DeVigili 
October 1981 



Plknetary Lander 
Instant Software Inc. 
Model I 

Planetary Lander is one of the 
best spaceship landing programs 
available. Via graphics, the game 
shows the position of your ship 
in relation to an altitude yard- 
stick, the scale of which changes 
as your ship approaches the 
planet's surface. Next to the alti- 
tude display is a control readout 
that gives elapsed time, speed in 



1^0 



SOFTWARE 



meters per second, thrust, and 
other indicators; these displays 
are updated at one second inter- 
vals. Although Planetary Lander 
is only available in Level I, Radio 
Shack's conversion program 
transforms it to Level IL Com- 
bined with Stellar Wars in a two- 
program package. Planetary 
Lander is an outstanding value. 
(Planetary Ixmder, Instant Soft- 
ware Inc., Elm St., Peter- 
borough, NH 03458, is no longer 
available.) 

John Warren 
September 1980 

Pyramid 

Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

Pyramid is Radio Shack's en- 
try into the world of adventure 
games for the TRS-80. The 
scenario starts with the would-be 
explorer in the desert, standing 
in front of the tip of a pyramid. 
You proceed using the assumed 
and known vocabularies. 

Unfortunately, the game suf- 
fers from the lack of a command 
word base, and has limited ex- 
planations of the instructions. 
You are on your own to figure 
out how to use it. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; Pyramid is 
now available for the Model II, 
III and Color Computer for 
$14.95.) 

William O'Brien 
August 1980 

"x" "A" "A' "A" 
Quest 

Aardvark-80 
Color Computer 

Quest is an adventure game 



written in Basic. Your goal is to 
travel through the lands of 
Alesia to Moorlock's citadel and, 
ultimately, defeat the forces of 
evil within. What makes Quest 
unique is that it's different every 
time you play it. It also makes 
good use of the Color 
Computer's graphics. 

You start each adventure with 
10 loyal companions. Your ob- 
ject is to gather men, weapons, 
armor, and food capable of 
defeating the forces at the 
citadel. You gain men and 
money by fighting or coming to 
terms with bands of ogres, 
wizards, pilgrims, and soldiers. 
You can also find money in 
caves, ruins, castles, and towers. 
All are randomly placed with 
each new game, and do not ap- 
pear on the screen until you ap- 
proach them while exploring 
Alesia. You can buy food, armor, 
and weapons at the marketplace 
in each city. 

A realistic feature of the game 
is the weight system used. Each 
man can carry only 100 pounds. 
The computer keeps track of the 
total weight of your items (plate 
mail— 50 pounds, broadsword— 
10 pounds, and so on) and com- 
pares it to the amount your men 
can carry. If the total is too high, 
you must drop items until the 
weight is acceptable. You can't 
ignore these warnings, since you 
will be unable to move until 
enough material has been left 
behind. 

Once you have crossed the 
river and you've gathered what 
you consider to be enough men, 
weapons, and food, attack the 
citadel. The display for a fight 
lists ever-changing tallies of your 
men, weapons, experience level, 
luck, and survivors, against 
theirs. To stop the fight, hit the 



GAMES 



space bar when you think your 
lucky number is higher than 
your opponent's, although this is 
just one factor in deciding the 
outcome. You can see how many 
survivors each party has. You 
can fight, run, or come to terms 
whenever a fight has been 
stopped. 

Quest is a terrific game for 
beginning adventurers, because 
there are no sudden 
unreasonable ways to lose. For 
example, if you are losing men 
in a fight, you can always try 
running away. The game is 
playable in two to five hours, 
and since the game is different 
every time, you are not likely to 
lose interest in it the first time 
you defeat the forces of evil. 
(Aardvark-80, 2352 S. Com- 
merce, Walled Lake, MI 48088; 
$14.95 cassette, 16K required) 
Beth Ann Norman 
December 1982 



^ ^ -^ 1/2 

Rat's Revenge 

Med Systems Software 

Model I and III 

Rat's Revenge is interest- 
ing! Up to now every maze game 
I've played has led to tedium. 
But suddenly, I'm a rat, scurry- 
ing through a maze looking for 
Swiss cheese. I can move one 
space at a time, run down 
straight hallways, and even con- 
sult a Hint Guru. 

Everything I see is in rat's 
perspective. I don't get an 
overhead look at the maze until I 
find the cheese or quit. Oh yes, 
there is one other way to leave 
the maze— on little phosphores- 
cent wings. However, dying is 
not enough; the game also 




haunts me with dreaded cheese 
hallucinations. 

Besides what you see as a rat, 
you receive assorted messages. 
The mazes are randomly 
generated and take from one to 
six minutes to complete. 

Rat's Revenge, as with all Med 
Systems Software that I have 
seen, is well worth its price. 
With its well-drawn graphics, 
total rat perspective, variable 
skill levels, humorous touches, 
and more, it is one game you 
won't play once and shelve. 
(Med Systems Software, P.O. 
Box 3558, Chapel Hill, NC 
27514; $14.95 cassette, $17.95 
disk.) 

Darren DeVigili 
November 1981 

•^ ^ ^ 1/2 

Robot Attack 
Big Five Software 
Model I and III 

Robot Attack is an arcade 



125 



SOFTWARE 



game for one or two players that 
pits an Earth warrior against 
several Jidyan robots. 

Your warrior roams the maze 
looking for robots. At first it 
seems too easy to destroy the 
robots without being shot at in 
return, but suddenly the robots 
counterattack and you're kept 
busy just trying to avoid their 
laser fire. A robot laser-blast can 
wipe out your warrior from 
anywhere on the screen as long 
as a clear path exists between 
your warrior and the attacking 
robot 

To keep you from becoming 
too familiar with the game 
layout, your warrior is in a dif- 
ferent set of rooms (or maze) 
each time you play the game. 
Robot Attack also comes with 
sound and speaks to you during 
the game, using such words as 
"player one," "player two," 
"chicken," "lucky," "game 
over," and "great score." You're 
awarded an extra warrior after 
5,000 points and another after 
10,000 points. 

(Big Five Software, P.O. Box 
9078-185, VanNuys, CA 91409; 
$15.95 cassette, $19.95 disk.) 

Carl A. Kollar 
August 1982 



Sargon II 
(See Page 106) 



Scarfman 
Comsof t Group 
Model I and ni 

Scarfman, like the arcade 
game Pac-Man, features several 
colored monsters running 
around a simple maze. You con- 



trol another creature shaped like 
a large C. The object of the game 
is to eat the monsters. At certain 
times, the monsters change color 
and can eat you. 

Each game begins with your 
character at the bottom center of 
the screen and the five monsters 
at the top center. Arrow keys 
control your character. Little 
square boxes dot your path, and 
as you pass each one you gain 
points. Plus signs occur around 
the maze and force all the 
monsters into the safe-to-eat 
stage. When you have disposed 
of blocks and plusses, the maze 
fills with them again and the 
level of difficulty increases. The 
monsters improve at finding you 
or hiding, and they revert to in- 
edible monsters more quickly. 

Some people say that this ver- 
sion is quicker than the arcade 
version. This black-and-white 
version is superior to the one 
written for the Color Computer. 

Sound is an extra feature. A 
speaker attached to the cassette 
cord produces sound effects each 
time a square, plus, monster, or 
you are devoured. The sounds 
are simple and synchronous 
with the speed of the action. 
(The Cornsoft Group, 6008 N. 
Keystone Ave., Indianapolis, IN 
46220; Model I or III cassette 
$15.95, disk $19.95, Color Com^ 
puter cassette $19. 95.) 

J.L. Latham 
March 1982 



Sex-O-Scope 
(See Page 88) 



SFiiiks 

(See Page 106) 



iZO 



GAMES 



■^ ^ ^ ^ 

SFinks 3.0 
William Fink 
Model I and HI 

Although I've played with a 
number of micro-chess pro- 
grams, most of them play so 
poorly or inconsistently that I 
lost interest pretty fast. These 
frustrating experiences helped 
me to appreciate SFinks 3.0. 

The first thing you notice 
about the game is the clear, 
unambiguous graphics portrayal 
of the pieces. SFinks has the 
least distortion of any TRS-80 
chess graphics I've seen. 

With a printer on line, moves 
are printed out as they are 
played. If you put your tape 
recorder on record and plug in 
an earphone, you'll hear some 
beeps every time it's your turn 
to move. This is nice if you want 
to read a book, write a poem, or 
design a cyclotron while you're 
waiting for SFinks to move. 

After choosing your color and 
which of nine levels you'd like 
SFinks to play (Level 1 gives the 
program only six seconds per 
move. Level 7 a maximum of 
two minutes and 50 seconds; 
level 9 analyzes continuously 
until you tell it to make its 
move), you indicate your move 
in standard European algebraic 
notation. Columns are labeled 
with the letters A through H and 
rows with the digits 1-8. To 
move, indicate the square from 
which and to which you're mov- 
ing. The edge squares have little 
digits and letters to help those 
who are used to the P-K4-style 
notation. 

The left side of the screen 
displays the level of play, the last 
12 moves, the move currently 
considered best by SFinks, and 



the time being taken for the cur- 
rent move. You can force SFinks 
to immediately make the move it 
has so far determined to be the 
best by pressing the @ key. 

If you press S when it's your 
turn, SFinks recommends a 
move. To make that move, press 
enter. The move is made but, 
unfortunately, the display re- 
mains unchanged until SFinks 
makes its own move. This oc- 
curs any time your move has 
been anticipated by SFinks. It's 
a bit annoying having to stare at 
a board that has not been up- 
dated. 

SFinks has a special edit mode 
that lets you take a move back, 
change levels or colors, or set up 
any position by entering the 
square and the piece that will go 
there. You can start from the 
current position or from a clear 
board if you wish. 

SFinks plays the strongest 
game I've encountered on a 
micro. I would estimate its rating 
at 1,700 in levels 5 through 7. 
One reason for this strength 
beside the sophisticated move- 
choosing algorithm is that it 
thinks on the opponent's move. 

Although SFinks is a remark- 
ably good micro-chess program, 
there are a number of features I 
wish it had. I would like to be 
able to decide to print out a 
game after it had been played 
rather than having to print out 
each move as it is played. The 
display should be updated every 
time a move is made whether or 
not it has been anticipated. It 
would be nice if all the moves 
could be stored in memory so 
the course of the game could be 
retraced and analyzed. A save- 
to-disk option would enable a 
game to be continued or ana- 
lyzed at a future date. 



127 



SOFTWARE 



Regardless of my wish to see 
SFinks do more, what it does 
now is quite remarkable. I highly 
recommend it as a good chess 
opponent and a learning tool to 
improve your game. 
(William Fink, Suite 24B, 1105 
N. Main St, Gainesville, FL 
32601; $39.95, 32K is required.) 
Joel Benjamin 
September 1982 



Space Ace 21 
(See Page 85) 



Space War 
(See Page 93) 



if ^ i>i^ -k 
Star Blaster 
The Micro Works 
Color Computer 

Star Blaster is a real-time ver- 
sion of the arcade game 
Asteroids written in 6809 
machine code, and the action is 
as fast and furious as the 
original version. The game is 
played with joysticks or a 
predefined set of keyboard 
characters that move the mother 
ship and fire missiles. The game 
consists of a missile-firing 
spaceship located somewhere in 
an asteroid-infested quadrant 
deep in the uncharted depths of 
space. The idea is to shoot to 
pieces all asteroids in sight 
before they smash into you and 
destroy your ship. The ship can 
fire missiles and move around to 
dodge the debris. 

Micro Works' version starts 
with a generous supply of five 
ships. Pushing left or right on 
the joystick (or pressing the ap- 
propriate keys) rotates the ship 
through 360 degrees, whereas a 



forward push gives the ship a 
kick of power that jolts it in the 
direction it's facing. This takes a 
little skill, since the ship gains 
momentum and continues until 
it decelerates under some un- 
discovered law of physics. This 
is where Star Blaster has its own 
custom trick. By pulling back on 
the stick, a bubble-like shield 
surrounds your ship and 
prevents any asteroids from 
coming into contact. 

Various sizes of flying saucers 
randomly enter your quadrant 
and take pot-shots at you. It's 
just one of those facts of space- 
life, and naturally you have to 
defend yourself by counterat- 
tacking or dodging the missiles 
raining down upon your ship. 
Star Blaster awards points ac- 
cording to the difficulty of the 
targets you hit. Every time you 
earn 10,000 points, you are 
rewarded with a beep and an ex- 
tra ship. 

The program uses only two 
colors, black and light green. 
This is the equivalent video 
mode in Basic as PMODE 4 and 
SCREEN 1,1. It's not the pret- 
tiest of the Color Computer's 
displays, but the software's 
designer has opted for max- 
imum resolution. 

The documentation is a card 
outlining the basic rules and 
scoring system. Sound is also an 
integral part of the game, but is 
only a minor part of the overall 
package when compared with 
the quality of the display. 

I recommend Star Blaster to 
any arcadophile. It's a definite 
must for the game library. 
(The Micro Works, P.O. Box 
1110, Del Mar, CA 92014; 
$39.95 cartridge.) 

Jake Commander 
August 1982 



128 



GAMES 



-^ -^ -^ V2 

Starfighter 

Adventure International 

Models I and III 

Starfighter contains a 32-page 
New-Pilot Introduction Manual, 
published by the Solar Galactic 
Authority, Periodical Of- 
fice/Landbase Central, and two 
cassettes. 

The Trainee Simulator tape 
allows a novice pilot to explore 
the operating parameters of the 
SC-78503 Starfighter craft and 
to learn about the universe 
without the hazards of actual 
combat. The simulation stops if 
the pilot makes an error, and the 
correct procedure is indicated. 

Make no mistake about the 
Main Mission tape, though; it is 
the real thing. The pilot departs 
Landbase Central as a 
paramilitary mercenary com- 
batant, after being given an 
SC-78503 Starfighter craft free of 
charge by the Solar Galactic 
Authority. As in the past, there 
is no free lunch, since the pilot is 
now responsible for proper 
maintenance, fueling, and 
recharging of the SC-78503. 

The theories of Hyperspace, 
Hypercharge, and Stellar Pump- 
ing are classified and cannot be 
related here, but are thoroughly 
covered in the Introduction 
Manual. Briefly, the pilot uses 
Hypercharge to get into 
Hyperspace to travel from now 
to elsewhere to elsewhen. 

The pilot must seek out, iden- 
tify, and destroy all craft hostile 
to the SGA. Identification is 
achieved by careful observation 
of visual profile or characteristic 
craft movement and evasive tac- 
tics. Performance data of all 
known craft is detailed in the In- 
troduction Manual. 



The SC-78503 Starfighter pro- 
vides the standard real-time 
visual screen, a combat comput- 
er with target ranging and direc- 
tion displays, targeting grid, and 
target lock controls. Included on 
the control panels are a veloci- 
ty indicator, speed and direction 
controls, and a digital-beacon 
message readout. A unique 
feature of the targeting grid 
gives the pilot rear, as well as 
forward views of space, quite 
helpful for detecting hostile craft 
approaching from the rear. 

Once a pilot reaches the rank 
of Star Lord, a secret code word 
appears on the control panel. 
Sending the code word to Ad- 
venture International will bring 
a special gift by return mail. 

Starfighter is a challenge and 
doesn't get boring. This simula- 
tion seems realistic, and the real- 
time action does not leave much 
time for even a sip of coffee. 
(Adventure International, Box 
3435, Longwood, FL 32750; 
$24.95 16K cassette, $29.95 
32K disk.) 

R.J. Brown 
February 1982 

Star Run 
(See Page 86) 



■^ ■^ "^ "^ 
Star Warrior 
Automated Simulations 
Model I and III 

Star Warrior transforms you 
into one of the Furies, paid 
agents of justice and revenge 
hired by the oppressed in- 
habitants of the planet Fornax to 
free them from the government 
of the Stellar Union. 

In the first game scenario, you 
and a fellow Fury have been 



129 



SOFTWARI 



dropped onto Fornax. Your mis- 
sion is to move north to create a 
diversion while your partner 
moves south to kill the Gover- 
nor. You want to be seen and 
shot at (Furies being either ex- 
ceedingly brave or incredibly 
stupid). You select your combat 
suit, the number of minutes the 
scenario will last, and one of five 
levels of difficulty. 

The second scenario reverses 
the roles. You must find the 
Governor, kill him, and escape 
as quickly as possible. The 
Governor can move around; his 
forces will shoot you on sight. 
There is no time limit to this 
scenario, but you lose points if 
you take more than 20 minutes. 

Your monitor shows one 
square at a time of a 7 by 9 grid 
with four types of terrain (plains, 
swamps, mountains, and 
forests). The maps for the two 
scenarios are completely dif- 
ferent. Each of the Furies' 
powered armor suits has dif- 
ferent characteristics: flight 
speed, armor strength, in- 
fravisibility, size of blaster, and 
so on. Disk version users can 
build a custom suit; cassette 
users can do almost as well by 
making appropriate adjustments 
to the data lines of the program. 

The enemy has many different 
types of weapons— robot tanks, 
nitron guns, maulers, flitters, 
and infantry. They are all dead- 
ly. The game uses a varied as- 
sortment of chirps, whines, and 
other interesting noises; if you 
choose not to use sound, the 
game proceeds much too quick- 
ly. The handbook is well-de- 
signed and easy to understand. 

The price seems a bit steep. If 
you can afford it, Star Warrior is 
a very fine program. 
(Automated Simulations, P.O. 



Box 4247, Mountain View, CA 
94040; $39.95 32K disk, or 16K 
cassette). 

Dan Cataldo 
April 1982 

Super Micro Pro Football 
Mcro Pro Systems 
Model I and III 

The ultimate computer foot- 
ball game would need 48K, fill a 
disk with program modules, load 
each at certain times, have an 
opponent with four skill levels, 
and have graphic cartoons to 
break up dull times now and 
then. It would also be filled with 
cute comments about stadium 
fans and tv cameras and it might 
even play a darn good game of 
football. The Super Micro Pro 
Football is all this and more. 

Instructions are complete and 
easy to understand. The game 
uses over 100 random number 
generators so you can expect the 
unexpected. The computer 
reviews your strategy and nails 
you to the wall if you use only a 
few plays. The screen shows a 
standard football field and in- 
dicates ball location with a pair 
of parentheses. The screen also 
shows score, direction of travel, 
time remaining, quarter, play 
timer, down, and ball location. 

You may play one of four dif- 
ferent teams. After you enter 
your team name and skill level, 
the computer creates a file with 
this information and remembers 
it from then on. There are 18 of- 
fensive and 8 defensive plays. 
The correct defense will not 
always stop the offense, just like 
real life, but the chances are 
good. Gains may be 99 yards on 
kick-off returns, interceptions, or 
punt returns. You have 10 



130 



GAMES 



seconds to enter a defensive play 
and 30 seconds to enter an offen- 
sive play. If you wait too long on 
defense the computer uses a 
general purpose defense. On of- 
fense you will either fumble the 
ball or receive a delay-of-game 
penalty if you wait too long. 

The game also has graphic 
cartoons for the coin toss, field 
goals, kick-offs, injuries, 
scoreboard, and even a message 
from the opposing quarterback. 
There is a graphic half-time 
show and a streaker. (Sorry, no 
graphics.) 

The game narrative is fun and 
always full of surprises. You 
never know when a player may 
get crunched or when someone 
might throw Howard Cosell on 
the field. It is fun to throw the 
bomb on the first down just to 
confuse the other guy (the com- 
puter). The game plays extreme- 
ly well and is error-free. If you 
have a 48K machine and enjoy 
football, you will enjoy this 
game. 

(Micro Pro Systems, Route #2, 
Box 533, Cumming, GA 30130; 
$19.95 32K disk. $22.95 48K 
disk.) 

Mark E. Renne 
August 1982 

■^ -^ ^ V2 
Super Nova 
Big Five Software 
Model I and III 

Super Nova is a machine-lan- 
guage program with some of the 
fastest graphics I've seen so far. 
Asteroids glide across the screen 
in all directions, and aliens shoot 
at your spaceship as they go by. 
When you hit a meteor it splits 
into fragments, and you've got 
to beware of those, too. When 
you are hit by a meteor or by 
alien fire, the screen flashes, and 



your ship is reduced to rubble. 

One or two people can play 
this thoroughly enjoyable game. 
Action is fast, and the game is 
challenging. 

My only criticism is that it is 
hard to tell in which direction 
your ship is facing. I've been 
able to tell the front end only by 
firing a missile. With all the 
work that went into creating this 
program, a little more work 
could have been expended 
toward making the direction of 
the ship more easily recog- 
nizable. 

But after becoming familiar 
with this interesting game, I'd 
still buy it. 

(Big Five Software, P.O. Box 
9078-185, Van Nuys, CA 91409: 
$15.95 cassette, $19.95 disk.) 

Carl A. Kollar 
August 1981 



'W' "W" "^ 'W' 

Swamp Wars 
Instant Software Inc. 
Model I and III 

Swamp Wars reenacts a 
hostile encounter between a 
tramp space racer called the 
Stellar Spaniel and the in- 
digenous population of an un- 
named planet in the Bragthos 
sector. 

The local aborigines— known to 
the less informed as the Slizards 
and Muck Monsters— are lazing 
around the lean-tos one after- 
noon when a fellow who is out 
washing his car happens to see 
the Spaniel land on one of the 
planet's nine islands. He natural- 
ly calls in a report to the Mutual 
Aid, and soon just about 
everyone has heard the news on 
their scanners. 

As it turns out, the Spaniel is 



131 



SOFTWARE 




only stopping for repairs. But the 
townies have had previous 
troubles with bounty hunters 
and mercenaries, and know that 
the rest of the solar system has 
as much use for them as a 
bucket of cold farts on a rainy 
day. So they mobilize their 
SWAT squad to go out there and 
deal with the situation. 

But life ain't no chair of 
bowlies. The ship's captain, with 
the improbable name of Legion 
J. Muldoon, is a crafty SOB, and 
soon has four 'droids out comb- 
ing the islands for transporters 
left behind by a bunch of mis- 
sionaries. He hopes to use the 
transporters to repair his ship, 
and book. 

The Slizard SWAT team isn't 
bright. In fact, there's a warrant 
on the agenda for the next town 
meeting to raise the entrance 
standards. They come charging 
up the island hell-bent for bongo- 
burgers, and Muldoon cleans the 
beach with their faces. He even 
picks off a few Muck Monsters, 
who shoot faster and with 
greater accuracy, before sending 
his 'droids to another island. 

Naturally, the locals are upset. 
This sort of thing costs a bundle 

i W(UB 



in ritual bereavement cere* 
monies. So they send out 
another squad, with instructions 
to stay low and kick ass. 

These guys do a little better, 
backing one of the 'droids into a 
public restroom and turning him 
into swamp gas. But the 'droids 
bob and weave, transport from 
one end of the island to the 
other, and generally make 
themselves difficult targets. The 
result is the same, and the 
Honor Guard deep-sixes 18 more 
shoe boxes. 

These first two confrontations 
set a pattern that continues from 
island to island. The Slizards are 
beginning to feel like they are 
riding mopeds through the Lin- 
coln Tunnel. The Muck Monsters 
start to pack their station 
wagons and make hotel reserva- 
tions in Miami Beach. 

But somewhere around island 
five, the action picks up. The 
Slizards kick out the jams and 
get serious, wasting two more 
'droids. Muldoon is tired of 
pushing all these buttons, and 
the remaining 'droid is com- 
plaining about heartburn. He is 
about ready to toss a mud ball at 
the mother ship when a Muck 
Monster sneaks up from behind 
and grinds him into silicon dust. 

That's it, of course, for Mul- 
doon, who drinks six bottles of 
Scope and dies of minty breath. 

The Slizards and Muck 
Monsters dismantle the ship and 
use the parts to repair their trac- 
tors. Muldoon's boots and the six 
empty Scope bottles are sent to 
the Museum of Modern History, 
where they are put in the base- 
ment and forgotten. The story 
makes the wire services, but the 
public loses interest when the 
Pope arrives for his first tour. 
(Suximp Wars is available from 



GAMES 



Instant Software, Peterborough, 
NH 03458; $14.95.) 

Eric Maloney 
August 1981 

"^ '^ '^ "^ 

T80-FS1 Flight Simulator 

Sublogic Commmiicatioiis 

Corp. 

Model I and III 

The T80-FS1 package is a 
reworked version of a program 
originally designed for the Apple 
11, improving the characteristics 
of the game/simulation. Before 
you can think about playing the 
included war game (British Ace), 
you must first learn how to fly 
the aircraft. 

The pilot finds the plane sit- 
ting on the approach end of run- 
way 27 (that is, facing due west 
or 270 degrees), awaiting depar- 
ture. The pilot has a view look- 
ing out through the forward 
cockpit. There are two views 
possible: One is out the front of 
the cockpit, and the other is 
from on top of the aircraft look- 
ing down. 

This aircraft is not meant to be 
an F-15 Eagle. Rather, it is a 
Sopwith Camel with some of the 
more sophisticated equipment of 
the present day. 

The flight controls consist of a 
number of keys on the TRS-80. 
You must hold a key down more 
than an instant to assure that 
the computer has read your re- 
quest. Failure to do so can result 
in turn rates, for example, that 
can lead to a dead man's spiral. 

Control of the aircraft on the 
ground is different from that in 
the air. On the ground, you steer 
the plane like a car. In the air the 
kinematic effects of lift, gravity, 
drag, and momentum are 
brought into play. 



There are instruments for you 
to learn, as well as three in- 
dicators for the game: score, 
bombs, and ammo. The bombs 
are released by the X key and 
the machine-gun ammo by the 
space bar. 

The program, to Its credit, is 
both a game and a simulation. 
But the game is a real-time 
game. By hitting the W key, 
the war is on. There is no turn- 
ing back. 

The more you experiment 
with the program, the more 
skilled you become in flying the 
simulation. Happy landings. 
(Sublogic Communications 
Corp., 713 Edgebrook Drive, 
Champaign IL 61820; $25 on 
cassette, $33.50 on disk.) 

John Lindsay 
August 1981 

^ ^ -^ V2 

Tanktics 
Avalon Hill 
Model I and III 

Avalon Hill's historical simula- 
tion games require hours or even 
days studying battle manuals 
and maps and working out in- 
tricate strategies. Tanktics is bet- 
ter than any previous simula- 
tion. It uses a mapboard, 
markers, and a battle manual, 
but does not take days to play. 

The board has 768 numbered 
hexagons superimposed over a 
countryside map. The object is 
to defeat the computer's tanks, 
using one of five different 
scenarios and several combina- 
tions of tanks and antitank guns; 
although you have up to eight 
tanks, the computer gets twice 
as many. 

The computer plans its moves, 
referees yours, determines com- 
bat results, and tells you when 



133 



SOFTWARE 



your tanks have been sighted by 
the enemy. You never know 
when the enemy will appear or 
where they are after an attack. 
The cassette version loads in two 
parts. It can be run from disk 
with a utility such as Twodisk 
from the Alternate Source. 

Avalon Hill has succeeded in 
keeping the best part of their 
board games and letting the 
computer do the tedious part 
for you. 

(Avalon Hill, Dept. aiO, 451 7 
Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 
21 21 4; $24 cassette. 1 6K or 
32K.) 

David G. Bartlett 
April 1982 



■^ "^ "^ 

Temple of Apshai 
Atttomated Simulations 
Model I or III 

Like its brothers in the noted 
Dunjonquest series. Temple of 
Apshai is a computerized off- 
shoot of fantasy war-gaming. 
Dungeon and Dragon players 
will feel at home as they bargain 
with the Innkeeper for supplies 
and set forth into the four-level 
abandoned temple. 

The game consists of two 
Basic programs. Innkeeper and 
Dunjonmaster, and four data 
bases that represent levels 
within the temple. The cassette 
documentation contains details 
on transferring the data bases 
to disk. 

Innkeeper designs a character 
and equips him or her for the 
upcoming battles. All characters 
have six attributes: intelligence, 
intuition, ego, strength, constitu- 
tion, and dexterity. The values 
assigned to each govern a 
player's fighting effectiveness. 



When the adventurer leaves 
the inn and enters the temple. 
Innkeeper loads Dunjonmaster. 
which reads the appropriate data 
base and displays the first seg- 
ment on the screen. Even when 
the programs and data have 
been loaded onto disk, this is a 
lengthy process. 

Dunjonmaster works in real 
time; the monsters do not wait 
for the player's response before 
striking. Fortunately, player's 
can select the monsters* 
response speed. 

The graphics are unexciting 
but acceptable. All the monsters 
are identical— sort of a graphic 
cross— while the character is a 
graphic "V" with the point in- 
dicating the direction of travel. 
The initial drawing of a room 
when the character enters is 
painfully slow. Thirty to 40 
seconds might not seem like 
much, but when you are on the 
track of fame and fortune, it is 
an eternity. A machine-language 
routine called through a USR 
routine might be more effective. 

At a time when most 
documentation appears to be 
written by an illiterate chimp, 
the Temple of Apshai manual is 
a welcome change. It is almost 
as much fun to read as the game 
is to play. 

Aside from detailed playing 
instructions, the manual con- 
tains two short stories that give 
background for the adventure 
and describe the treasures and 
monsters that abound within 
the walls. 

A major drawback to Temple 
of Apshai is that the cassette- 
based program cannot remem- 
ber a character. Players are re- 
quired to write down the 
characteristics, weapons, armor, 
and treasure so they can 



I O^^ 



GAMES 



describe their character to the 
innkeeper. The most effective 
technique seems to be to have a 
partner keep track of treasures 
and magic healing potions as 
well as read the descriptions and 
make a much-needed map. 

Temple of Apshai brings the 
excitement of role-playing games 
to the world of home computers. 
Buckle on your sword, don your 
armor, and type Run. 
(Automated Simulations, P.O. 
Box 4247, Mountain View, CA 
94040; $39.95 cassette and 
disk.) 

John Warren 
February 1982 

Tower of Orlandor 
Compu-things 
Model I and III 

Tower of Orlandor, a new 
graphics-based adventure pro- 
gram, is an invisible maze 
graphically depicted from an 
overhead view. 

The game begins in an empty 
square, with the player 
represented by a blinking 
graphic block. Using the arrow 
keys, you blunder around in the 
dark until you hit a wall of the 
maze, which lights up, showing 
its location. Some walls have 
traps that, if activated, deduct 
life points from the player. 

The tower has 10 levels. On 
each level is a hidden trap door 
that, once found, lets you pass 
down to the next floor until you 
reach the ground floor and 
(presumably) safety. 

Much is left to the imagina- 
tion. Missing is the verbal 
interaction of traditional adven* 
ture, the frustrating three- 
dimensional maze images of the 



Med-Systems series, or even the 
room shapes of Gauntlet of 
Death. There is the feeling of be- 
ing lost in a dungeon (and there 
are treasures and potions to ob- 
tain), but author Dave Huntress 
would have us extrapolate every 
detail of the game except that 
which appears sparingly on the 
screen from time to time to tell 
us we've hit something or found 
something. 

At $14.95, the program is 
aimed at the younger crowd, 
who need a game simple enough 
to play but complex enough to 
hold their attention. For the 
sophisticated Adventure/Death- 
maze/Trapmaze player, this pro- 
gram will fall short of his expec- 
tations. 

(Compu-things, Suite #2, 270 
Broadway, Revere, MA 02151; 
$14.95 cassette, $59.95 disk.) 

Aaron Silverstein 
August 1982 

-^ -^ -^ -^ 
TRS-Opera 

•^ ^ -^ 1/2 

Word Challenge 
Acom Software 
Model I and III 

This TRS-80 voice program in- 
cludes five songs, all classics 
that are quite familiar. Only one 
of the songs appears to be full 
length, probably due to the 
memory restrictions involved in 
presenting a fair selection while 
keeping the program within the 
16K margin. 

By using very fast alternating 
tones, amazingly full single voice 
sounds have been produced. 
What appears to be two notes is 
really one note quickly followed 
by another. The tone quality is 
good, for a TRS-80. 






SOFTWARE 



In my opinion, TRS-Opera is 
one of the most ambitious 
musical programs written for 
the '80. 

Word Challenge is a cross be- 
tween the conventional game of 
hangman and the television 
game show, Wheel of Fortune. It 
uses sound and graphic com- 
binations to capture the interest 
of the user. 

The game can be played by 
one or two players. In the one- 
player mode, the computer sup- 
plies the phrases to be guessed 
from its store of about 25. These 
phrases are good, but few. In the 
two-player mode, you can create 
your own phrases, but you can't 
save them. This is unfortunate 
because you could exchange 
data with a friend or use the pro- 
gram for educational purposes. 

There are minor problems in 
two delay loops; the screen 
clears before you have a chance 
to read it properly. However, the 
sound quality in this program is 
just as good as that in TRS- 
Opera. Many of the sounds are 
akin to those used in most ar- 
cade games, and are done 
meticulously. 

Word Challenge is a good pro- 
gram, particularly for those of 
you with school-age children. 
(Acorn Software Products Inc., 
634 North Carolina Ave. S.E., 
Washington, DC 20003; these 
products are no longer 
available.) 

Darren DeVigili 
August 1981 



Two Heads of a Coin 
(See Page 100) 

136 



Video Checkers 
Compuquote 
Model I 

Video Checkers, according to 
the vendor, plays checkers 
according to the international 
rules. The graphics of the play- 
ing surface are well done. I like 
the fact that the board is 
displayed continuously. A 
message on the right side of the 
screen indicates whose turn it is 
and also prints each move as it 
is made. 

One bug shows up occasional- 
ly. After the computer makes its 
move, it sometimes leaves a let- 
ter in the space where you enter 
your move. This results in an il- 
legal move message one or more 
times before the letter is re- 
moved. The program is also very 
slow— it takes 40 seconds to 
determine a move. 

Despite the good graphics, the 
program doesn't play an in- 
telligent game. Video Checkers 
invariably makes stupid 
mistakes, and I've never lost to 
it. One time, it had two pieces 
ready to move in to be kinged; 
instead it moved in front of me 
and set up a double jump. 
(Compuquote, Canoga Park, CA 
91305, could not be reached for 
an update.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 

•^ ^ ^ 

The Voyage of the Valkyrie 
Advanced Operating Systems 
Model I and III 

Graphics and sound can make 
or break a computer game; both 
are done very well in The 
Voyage of the Valkyrie. 



GAMES 



The game Itself is no innova- 
tion. You are the pilot of the ship 
Valkyrie; your mission is to cap- 
ture the island of Fugloy. The 
island has 10 castles, each 
guarded by a different number 
and type of bird. Your first task 
is to map the island. Roughly 
two hours of trial and error gives 
you the map, but be prepared to 
die a few times in the process. 

You must shoot the birds to 
capture the castles. The elite 
Fugloy Airforce can appear 
anywhere on the island. These 
birds shoot back and some are 
more powerful and quicker than 
others. Each shot consumes 
valuable energy points. You 
must also keep an eye on your 
shield level. 

To shoot the birds you must 
aim crosshairs that appear on 
the screen when you put on your 
shields. How well you aim these 
crosshairs bears directly on your 
success at the game. 

There are 10 levels of play, 
with each successive level put- 
ting more birds into the fight. 
Once you have mastered the art 
of shooting the birds, however, 
the game only becomes longer 
with each increase in difficulty 
level. 

The graphics are undoubtedly 
the best feature of Valkyrie. The 
birds move unpredictably (at 
first) with their wings flapping 
and shots flashing. The castles 
are all different and are equally 
impressive. Few games can 
boast TRS-80 graphics as good 
as these. 

When you first begin to play, it 
is difficult to shoot the birds. 
Eventually patterns emerge and 
the game becomes much easier 
to play. Once you map the game 
and develop your shooting 
technique, the game ceases to be 



a challenge. 

The game remains entertain- 
ing because of the graphics and 
an unusual use of sound (selec- 
tions from Richard Wagner's 
operas). The game begins with 
the march from "Tannhauser," 
and "The Ride of the Valkyrie" 
(my favorite) plays each time 
you capture a castle. 

The Prelude from Act III of 
"Lohengrin" signals that you 
have conquered the island. 
There are the usual blips and 
blaps, as well, but they are 
uninspiring. 

I like this game, but I can't 
recommend it to anyone who 
wants a challenge everytime it is 
played. It is quickly mastered, 
and can become tedious. The 
graphics and sound redeem 
what would otherwise be a 
mediocre game. 
(Advanced Operating Systems, 
450 St. John Road, Michigan 
City, IN 46360; $34.95 cassette, 
$39.95 disk.) 

Michael E. Nadeau 
May 1982 

*** 

Win21 

Discovery Bay Software Co. 

Model I 

Win21 is a blackjack program 
that can be played as a game pit- 
ting you (and up to six of your 
friends) against the dealer. But 
there is more to it than that. It is 
intended to be used as a tutorial 
in winning at a real blackjack 
table. 

Included with Win21 is a 
200-page paperback book by Ed- 
ward O. Thorp, Ph.D., entitled 
Beat the Dealer. This book 
presents a theory and system for 
regularly winning at blackjack. 



137 



SOFTWARE 



Use Win21 along with the 
book to improve your card skills. 
You can decide whether you will 
make your own moves, follow a 
computer-suggested course of 
action, or let the computer play 
for you. You can also choose to 
play with from one to four decks. 
With more than one deck, the 
shuffling time is quite long— one 
of the drawbacks of complex 
programs written in Basic. 

The graphics are not dramatic, 
but they are effective. An out- 
lined square is provided in front 
of each player for his bet, and 
then the cards are dealt face 
down or face up as required. 

It's claimed that the theory is 
sound and that you can win if 
you follow it. However, if I set 
the program to play automatical- 
ly and let it run for a long time, I 
always lose. 

Win2I is an interesting pro- 
gram, and anyone who plays 
blackjack for money might 
benefit from it. In any case, it's 
fun to play. 

(Discovery Bay Software Co., 
P.O. Box 464, Port Townsend, 
WA 98368; $29.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 

^ -^ -^ V2 

Winged Samurai 
Discovery Games 
Model I or III 

You are a Japanese Squadron 
Commander defending a New 
Guinea naval base in the spring 
of 1942. The Allied bombers are 
still 28 miles from their target 
when they are spotted by 16 im- 
perial A6M2 fighters (the dread- 
ed Zero). 

In this game, you can choose 
one of 13 different fighters, each 
with its own flight character- 



istics, for your mission. You will 
be facing 15 types of Allied 
planes. 

The action proceeds as you 
type in commands to your 
squadron. There are 25 two- 
character commands. After you 
enter a command, the sideview 
is updated with information and 
you can make other command 
decisions. Your goal is to destroy 
all the bombers before they 
reach your base. 

The game is easy to learn, but 
difficult to play because of all the 
possible aircraft combinations. 
Each game is different. In 
Winged Samurai, as in real 
aerial combat, chance plays a 
major role. This is simulated by 
including a random element into 
all encounters. Thus, for no ap- 
parent reason, your fortunes 
may turn sour rapidly. 
(Discovery Games, 936 W. 
Highway 36, St. Paul, MN 
551 13; $1 9.95 cassette.) 

Art Little 
August 1981 

■^ ^ ^ 1/2 
The Wizard 
Programs Unlimited 
Model I 

I first played The Wizard at a 
New York Computer Show. 
Doubtful that this program was 
different from games I have 
played and shelved in the past, I 
reluctantly selected a subject. 
Suddenly, all hell broke loose; 
the TRS-80 started to make 
strange noises, the monitor 
began to flash, and I found 
myself in a battle against time to 
answer the questions correctly. I 
was there for some time trying 
to prove I was smarter. It was 
a draw. 



136 



GAMES 



The Wizard is reminiscent of 
coin arcade games that ask you 
a series of questions on various 
categories in exhange for points 
and a free game. You can play 
The Wizard alone, against the 
clock, or against another player. 
When two people play, you are 
not only pitted against the clock, 
you also play against your oppo- 
nent, who can steal your ques- 
tions or force you to answer 
questions he rejects. 

The Wizard is more than a 
game; it is also educational. The 
real power behind The Wizard is 
the utility that comes with it 
allowing you to program in your 
own questions and answers on 
any subject you want. This utili- 
ty is easy to use. 

The Wizard would comple- 
ment any program library and is 
well worth the asking price. 
(Programs Unlimited, 125 S. 
Service Road, Jericho, NY 
11753; $19.95 on disk.) 

Joe Simon 
May 1981 



Word Challenge 
(See Page 135) 

^ -^ -^ ^2 

Word© 

Micro-Fantastic Programming 

Model I and III 

A cross between Scrabble, 
Jumble, and Hang Man, Wordo 
provides more than ample op- 
portunity to test your knowledge 
of five-letter words. 

Wordo can be played by one or 
two persons. The program pro- 
vides a list of over 1,000 five- 
letter words, from among which 
it randomly chooses one word 
for each play. You enter a five- 



letter guess word. The computer 
adds this word to your list and 
indicates how many of its letters 
are also in the game word. 
However, it does not indicate 
which letter in your word is con- 
tained in the five-letter-word 
category. 

After each guess, you can 
enter or eliminate letters known 
to be, or not to be, in the game 
word on the "scatch pad" at the 
top of the screen. You are limited 
to 30 guesses, after which the 
word is displayed on the screen. 

The scoring method, deter- 
mined by the number of players, 
is based on either accumulated 
points or on the average number 
of words entered per game. The 
score is carried over and 
modified from game to game. 

Wordo is not a cinch. You'll be 
surprised at how many five-letter 
words you don't know, or at 
least you don't commonly use. 
To win the game, your challenge 
is to find several words with let- 
ters that are not in the game 
word; this is not always as easy 
as it sounds. 

In desperation, you may cheat, 
as 1 did. The computer accepts 
nonsense words that are in the 
form of true words. It rejects 
nonsense words that do not 
follow an English vowel- 
consonant pattern, and words of 
less than five letters. 

Wordo is not geared for 
children. There is no way to 
direct the computer to select 
words appropriate for a child. As 
a matter of fact, there is no way 
to direct it to select words ap- 
propriate for adults who have 
low frustration thresholds, 
either. 

Those of you with patience 
will find this game interesting 
and challenging. Have fun! 



139 



SOFTWARE 



(Micro-Fantastic Programming, 
New York, NY 10001 could not 
be reached for an update, Wordo 
orginally sold for $14.95.) 

Debra Marshall 
April 1981 



-^ ^ ^ "5^/2 

Zork 

Personal Software Inc. 

Model I 

Zork is a complicated and 
sophisticated underground king- 
dom whose treasures lie both 
above and below ground. One of 
its greatest treasures is its ability 
to react to fairly complex com- 
mands. You are not limited to a 
vague, general activity because 
the program recognizes only 
two-word commands. 

Zork is a joy to play. There are 
no graphics; the screen carries a 
description of your surroundings 
and the directions of travel that 
are available to you. Your 
number of turns and points ac- 
quired are also on the screen at 
all times. 

It is for you to decide where to 
go, and how to get there. Ex- 







plore, but remember that direc- 
tions change; just because you 
went north to enter the chasm 
doesn't mean you can leave it by 
travelling south. And, please, 
watch out for the pickpocket. 

Zork contains many areas, 
and consequently should be 
mapped. Because of its com- 
plexity, mapping will take time, 
and a thorough exploration of 
each site will take longer. A save 
procedure marks your place so 
you can avoid having to start 
from the beginning each time 
you play. 

A 15-page instruction book ac- 
companies the disk. The book 
gives background, directions 
and explanations of the game, 
and also describes in great detail 
loading and saving on both one- 
and two-disk systems. The direc- 
tions for initializing the TRSDOS 
disk are also included. 

Mysteries abound in Zork. I'm 
not sure that it can be solved— 
there is so much to know that 
the possibilities seem staggering. 
Since the program allows you to 
do pretty much what you want, 
it leaves open marvelous oppor- 
tunities for those of us who love 
to break into things to see how, 
and if, they work. Above all, be 
ready to ask questions and to 
giggle. The program has an- 
swers, and also a sense of 
humor. 

The booklet describes Zork as 
Part 1; I truly hope that means 
we can expect a second part 
sometime soon. 

(Personal Software Inc., of Sun- 
nyvale, CA, has changed its 
name to VisiCorp. Zork I is now 
available from Radio Shack for 
$39.95. Zork II and Zork III are 
distributed by Infocom, 55 
Wheeler St., Cambridge, MA 
02138. They may be purchased 



l^%j 



GRAPHICS 



through the Zork User's Group, 
P.O. Box 20923, Milwaukee, WI 
53220 for $39.95, Model I 
and III.) 

Debra Marshall 
August 1981 



"GR^HICS- 



"^ "^ "^ 

Dancing Demon 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model II and III 

Dancing Demon features two 
animated-graphics, demonstra- 
tion programs for the TRS-80. 
With this program you enter in- 
dividual notes to compose a 
song, then type in dancing in- 
structions and choreograph a tap 
dancer to the music. 

Letters correspond to musical 
notes. Each note is followed by a 
click to simulate the dancer's tap 
shoes. The machine writes the 
timing, while you select the tem- 
po. Speed selection ranges from 
1-255. 

Once your song has been 
typed in, you can create a dance 
routine by entering various let- 
ters and numerals that represent 
different steps and their counts. 
The dancer can be made to 
move left or right, jump, stomp 
left or right, squat, stand, or 
even spin. 

We enjoy the big production 
these programs put on. The cur- 
tain rolls up and a figure dances 
to tlie music, taking a bow or 
two at the end of his perfor- 
mance. So sit back and let your 
computer entertain you! 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 



Worth, TX 76102; $9.95.) 

Dan Keen 

Dave Dischert 

April 1981 

-^ ^ ^ 1/2 

ElectraSketch 
Macrotronics Inc. 
Model I and III 

I love my ElectraSketch. It's a 
creative addition to my TRS-80 
trappings, and it's inexpensive. 

It contains six fUes, and when 
transferred to disk they enable 
me to create graphics, store pic- 
tures on disk, retrieve pictures 
from disk, animate graphics, 
vary animation speed, obtain 
printouts, draw line vectors, fill 
in backgrounds, and intersperse 
alphanumerics with graphics. 

When creating your own 
displays, you do have to keep 
track of the remaining RAM, 
making sure that your Basic pro- 
gram fits into a reserved spot. 

The package comes with clear, 
point-by-point instructions to 
lead you ttirough the 17-step 
loading process. 

I recommend ElectraSketch as 
an inexpensive, practical ap- 
proach to computer graphics. 
(Macrotronics Inc., Turlock, CA 
95380. This product has been 
discontinued.) 

Joseph H. Cowen 
January 1981 

"^ "^ "^ 
ENHBAS 
Cornsoft Group 
Model I, II, and III 

ENHBAS is a graphics pack- 
age similar to Level Ill's, and 
more. It comes in both tape and 
disk formats. Disk ENHBAS 
comes with versions for 32K and 



I ™r i 



SOFTWARE 



48K machines on a transfer disk 
with no operating system. 

The disk version of ENHBAS 
uses high memory, while the 
tape version uses low memory. 
Thus, only one tape version is 
needed for all memory sizes 
from 16K-48K. 

During use of ENHBAS, clear 
acts as a control key, and most 
standard control functions are 
supported. If a lowercase 
modification is present, clear in 
conjunction with the numbered 
keys provides special characters 
such as brackets. 

Several features of ENHBAS 
make use of sound, provided a 
suitable amplifier is connected to 
the cassette output jack. A click 
is generated whenever a key is 
pressed, errors return a short 
two-tone beep, break or control 
C has a high-pitched tone, and 
control G plays the Winchester 
Chimes. 

Thirty-five shorthand entries 
are provided. By pressing a com- 
bination of clear/shift, and a let- 
ter or number simultaneously, a 
Basic key word is generated. 
While saving keystrokes, this is 
a bit cumbersome. 

For some reason, the H key is 
undefined and I was unable to 
find it documented. Choice of 
implemented key words could 
also be better. Many keys are 
dedicated to special ENHBAS 
key words and some lesser-used 
Disk Basic functions (MKD). 
Some common key words are 
omitted, for instance, GOTO. 

Sorts, one of the most power- 
ful features of ENHBAS, are 
handled through numeric and 
string arrays singly dimen- 
sioned. Key designates the array 
to be sorted; Tag designates ar- 
rays carried along with the 
Keyed array. 



Other features of the utility in- 
clude several new branching 
commands, graphics com- 
mands, and some new con- 
stants. Exec allows execution of 
a string expression as if it were a 
program line, and ZSTEP allows 
pausing between execution of 
every program statement. Hit- 
ting any key during a pause 
causes the next statement to be 
executed. 

Several new error messages 
are included. The tape version of 
ENHBAS, in addition to the new 
features, brings some of the 
features of Disk Basic to tape 
users. Included are MID$, 
INSTR, and Line Input. Also &H, 
&0, and &B allow the use of hex, 
octal, or binary constants in 
numerical expressions. 

All in all, ENHBAS appears to 
be an excellent utility for serious 
programmers who need more 
programming power than the 
available Disk Basic versions can 
provide. I would definitely 
recommend it to anyone who is 
nostalgic for the fast graphics en- 
joyed back in the tape days with 
Level II Basic. 

(ENHBAS, currently being re- 
vised, is not available at this 
time. Cornsoft Group, 6008 N. 
Keystone Ave., Indianapolis, IN 
46220. The package was origi- 
nally priced at $59.95 Model I 
and III, $99.95 64K Model II.) 

Ronald H. Bobo 
January 1982 



w' W W "W 
G.E.A.P. 1.0 
(Graphics Editor 
and Programmer) 
J.F, Consulting 
Models I and III 

G.E.A.P. (Graphics Editor and 



142 



GRAPHICS 



Programmer) is a Basic graphics 
program that allows the pro- 
grammer to manipulate all or 
part of the screen. 

G.E.A.P. has four modes. 
Regular mode is signified by a 
flashing dot cursor. The cursor 
can be moved in any direction 
with the arrow keys in any com- 
bination. If the shift key is held 
as the cursor is moved, a line is 
left in the trail of the cursor. To 
erase the line, you rcAAnrite the 
line without the shift key. The 
regular mode is activated by 
turning the power on, and can 
be reached from all other modes 
(except the print mode) by hit- 
ting the period key. 

The second mode is the print 
mode. Its main function is to put 
text on the screen, and it is 
entered by hitting the asterisk. 
To exit, you must first enter the 
keypad mode by hitting the clear 
key. Once in keypad mode every 
other mode is readily available 
by hitting the appropriate 
cursor key. 

The keypad mode is available 
at the touch of the < key or by 
the clear key, if you are in the 
print mode. To exit the keypad 
mode, hit the cursor key of the 
mode you want. 

The fourth mode, the desig- 
nated mode, is entered by hit- 
ting the hyphen key. A flashing 
hyphen is used as the cursor, 
and it will not erase as it moves. 
This mode is the guts of the 
G.E.A.P. program. While in this 
mode, you can select any area of 
the screen, reverse it, move it, 
tilt or rotate it, multiply the 
views of it, magnify it, fill it in, 
shrink or expand it, and save or 
cancel it. You can draw half of a 
screen, duplicate the half £ind 
merge it into an entire screen. 

There are nine options 



available while in all modes ex- 
cept the print mode. These op- 
tions are entered by hitting the 
number nine. One of these op- 
tions. Dump Program, lets you 
save your creation or reload 
another for re-editing. The 
Dump option is compatible with 
disk, cassette, or Exatron's 
Stringy Floppy. 

You are also given the option 
of saving the screen in com- 
pressed or noncompressed code. 
You can save a designated figure 
in a Basic string. You can even 
specify the line numbers for 
screen storage so you can merge 
it with a program more easily. 

G.E.A.P. can incorporate input 
statements with user-specifled or 
default variables. Graphic 
animation is possible by up- 
dating only the moving part of 
the screen. You can insert delay 
loops, or even create your own 
modules and expand on 
G.E.A.P. if it doesn't have the 
feature that you need. 
(G.E.A.P. 2.1 is available from 
ROM Computers, 221 Hirshfield 
Drive, Williamsville, NY 14221; 
disk $49.99.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
March 1982 



^ ^ ^ ^ y2 

G.E.A.P. 1.3 and 2.0 
J.F. Consulting 
Model I or IH 

G.E.A.P. (Graphics Editor and 
I^ogrammer) is designed to per- 
mit the use of intricate video and 
printer graphics and text com- 
binations so nonprogrammers 
can produce professional-looking 
output. It is to graphics what a 
word processor is to text. This 
review is based on versions 1.3 
and 2.0. 



l4«3 



SOFTWARE 



G.E.A.P. is a utility program 
that allows easy control of the 
cursor, drawing graphic displays 
anywhere on the CRT, moving 
sections of the display around 
the screen, the integration of 
text into the screen, and pro- 
gramming input statements into 
the screen display. 

It can also magnify, rotate, tilt, 
and multiply the views of any 
part of the display; duplicate 
part of the screen so only half a 
picture need be drawn; shrink, 
expand, and break apart por- 
tions of the screen; and reverse 
the display, changing all or part 
of it from light on dark to dark 
on light. 

Although it requires a brief 
familiarization period, G.E.A.P. 
can be used effectively by non- 
programmers the first time out. 
It also has options so the ex- 
perienced programmer can write 
expansion modules to meet his 
needs. 

The program's documentation 
is very good. Its step-by-step 
style starts with the basics and 
slowly guides you into the more 
advanced G.E.A.P. features. 

G.E.A.P. has four main 
operating modes. The first is 
called the regular mode. It is ac- 
tive when you turn the com- 
puter on, and, among other 
things, it accesses the menu. 
The second mode is the print 
mode. Its main function is plac- 
ing text on the screen. 

The keypad mode, the third 
mode, draws graphics 
characters. The final mode, the 
designate mode, is the heart of 
the G.E.A.P. program. With this 
mode, you can select any area of 
the screen; designate it in 
various ways; and then reverse 
it, move it, tilt or rotate it, 
multiply the views of it, magnify 



it, fill it in, shrink or expand it, 
and save or cancel it. You can 
draw half of a screen, duplicate 
the half, and merge it into an en- 
tire screen. 

Expansion modules are option- 
al with version 1.3 and standard 
with version 2.0. They are spe- 
cial function programs that over- 
lay part of G.E.A.P. memory 
without disturbing the program. 
They allow the use of the key- 
board to type letters that are 
medium-sized, large-sized, and 
cubed. 

Additional modules let you use 
the Epson MX-80 printer to 
reproduce the screen graphics 
on the printer and also allow the 
integration of G.E.A.P. and 
Newscript for producing some 
unique text and graphic effects. 

Due to the use of expansion 
modules, an increase in memory 
size is not necessary to expand 
the G.E.A.P. program. Version 
1.3 is compatible with cassettes 
or disks; however, if you have a 
48K disk system, you should get 
version 2.0. This version has all 
the features of version 1.3 plus 
several more that give you the 
full advantage of the disk 
system. 

Version 2.0 is compatible with 
LDOS, DOSPLUS, TRSDOS, and 
NEWDOS80 1.0and2.0. 1 
assume G.E.A.P. will also work 
with other common DOS types. 

G.E.A.P. may appear to be a 
game creator or a toy rather 
than a workable tool. That's not 
the case. G.E.A.P. is limited in 
business applications only by 
the user's imagination. 

G.E.A.P. is functional, fim, and 
worth the money. It is the most 
powerful utility of its kind. 
(G.E.A.P. 2.1 is available from 
ROM Computers, 221 Hirshfield 
Drive, Williamsville, NY 14221; 



144 



GRAPHICS 



version 2.1, $49.95.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
October 1982 



■^ "^ "^ "^ 
Powerdraw 
Powersoft 
Model I or III 

Powerdraw is one of the new 
generation of screen graphics 
utilities for the TRS-80. The pro- 
gram lets you create graphics 
screens and either print them or 
use them in your programs. 

It's easy to use and you can 
save your creations in any of six 
different formats on disk or tape. 
The documentation is excellent; 
it explains all commands in 
great detail. 

The program is in machine 
language and uses either 
joystick or cursor controls. It has 
two different modes: text and 
graphics; all commands can be 
used in either mode. The 
graphics mode lets you draw on 
the screen using the arrow keys. 
This mode has several special 
functions, including mirror- 
image top-bottom and right-left, 
reverse, and flip sides. 

Move is a powerful command 
that can make animation seem 
effortless. By entering the Move 
command and pressing a direc- 
tion key, you can change the 
location of the entire screen in 
any direction. Text is entered by 
simply typing at the locations 
desired and can be screen- 
edited. Screens can be sent to 
the printer using any of three 
screen-printer drives within the 
program. 

Powerdraw makes designing 
program covers easy as well as 
creating cartoons to reward 



children using educational soft- 
ware. There are few drawing 
assignments that this program 
could not handle easily. 

The only thing missing from 
the program is a way to convert 
the screen into a string-pack for- 
mat. If you try to edit the ex- 
isting code and change Prints to 
A$ = ; the line will no longer ex- 
ecute. This is a minor bug. 

The overall performance of 
Powerdraw is great; I recom- 
mend it to anyone interested in a 
screen editor. 

(Powersoft, 1 1 500 Stemmons 
Expressway, Suite 125, Dallas, 
rX 75229; $39.95.) 

Mark E. Renne 
October 1982 

• * * 1/2 

SECS 

(Screen Edit Control System) 

•^ ^ ^ 1/2 

Sigmon 
Datasoft Inc. 
Color Computer 

The Screen Edit Control 
System, SECS, is one of the 
most useful tools available for 
color graphics. SECS is two pro- 
grams: one in machine language 
and the other in what I would 
call Color Graphics Basic. 

With SECS you can produce 
any 8-by-lO dot-matrix graphics 
character you desire. A group of 
64 characters can be created and 
used at any one time. The 
characters and programs gen- 
erated can be saved to tape. 

An Editor program allows you 
to make corrections, additions or 
deletions at any location on the 
screen. 

Sigmon is a 6809 machine- 
code monitor program tliat gives 



145 



SOFTWARE 



you 18 powerful commands in- 
cluding Dump, List, Disassem- 
ble, Assemble, Find, Move, Step, 
Break, Set, Go, Write, Read, 
PLOAD, PRT, NOPRT, Mode, Ex- 
it, and Speed. Sigmon comes 
with a 14-page instruction 
booklet and a source listing. The 
program is written in code that 
can be relocated. It is 6K long, 
and located at the top of memory 
and can be protected by Basic's 
Clear command. 

The monitor is easy to use, 
and the instruction manual is 
well-written and informative. 
Even though it is a large pro- 
gram, it is a good one and con- 
tains the capabilities a serious 
programmer needs. 
(SE)CS and Sigmon, by Datasoft 
Inc., 19519 Business Center 
Drive, Northridge, CA 91324. 
have been discontinued.) 

Douglas R. Cook 
March 1982 



HOME 

APPLICATIONS 



^ -^ ^ 

Deluxe Personal Finance 

Small Business Systems 

Group 

Model I, n, and HI 

The Deluxe Personal Finance 
is an extensive budget program 
to be used in an individual 
household. The system is in the 
form of a mini-general ledger 
and includes an accounts- 
payable program. 

With the system, you can 
record 900 check transactions 



annually, allow nine budget 
categories per check, provide 
summaries of income versus 
spending by month, assign ex- 
penses to 28 categories, and 
generate end-of-year reports for 
tax purposes, among others. The 
program runs on two disk drives 
and needs 32K of memory. 

The program maintains a good 
set of records, but only if they 
are utilized. Often, there is a 
tendency to use a budget pro- 
gram awhile and then stop. 

However, if you do use Deluxe 
Personal Finance, all data you 
need at income-tax time will be 
right at your fingertips. 
(Small Business Systems 
Group, 6 Carlisle Road, 
Westford, MA 01886; Model I 
$35, $50 compiled. Model III 
$50 compiled. Model II $75.) 

Reese Fowler 
May 1981 

ik ^ ^ 
H-O-R-K-S 
Edu-Ware East 
Model I and III 

H-O-R-K-S (Home Office 
Record Keeping System) is a 
bookkeeping program for those 
with complicated financial lives. 
It doesn't balance the checkbook 
or reconcile the bank statement, 
but it organizes financial records 
so you can find out where the 
money goes as well as where it 
comes from. The minimum 
system required is a Model I or 
in with 32K and one disk drive; 
the Model I holds about 800 
records, the Model III about 
2,000. 

Before using the program, you 
name up to 33 credit and 33 
debit accounts. Credit accounts 
might be salary, interest, or 



146 



HOME APPLICATIONS 



dividends; expenses include all 
the categories for itemized 
deductions on an income tax 
return, as well as standard 
household costs. Names can be 
changed if necessary; any dollar 
amounts in an account will re- 
main after a name change. 

After the program is initialized 
with account names, transac- 
tions can be entered. Each ac- 
count name and its code number 
is displayed on the screen; you 
enter the transaction date, item, 
amount, tax, and account code 
number. A transaction might 
correspond to a check you've 
written, or a cash expense, or in* 
come. After the entry is com- 
plete, you're allowed to correct 
any errors. Later, a file can be 
corrected using the audit func- 
tion; the audit feature records all 
changes made in a file, storing 
the old and new information. 

Several printouts or screen 
displays are available, such as 
summaries by account, transac- 
tions by month or for entire file, 
and profit/loss statements. The 
program tallies the tax on any 
item separately. 

This is a useful program, but 
there are some aggravations, 
which are apparent when you 
use the audit file. The more 
changes you record, the fewer 
expenses/credits will fit on the 
disk, so it's important to keep 
audit changes to a minimum. 
Unfortunately, it's easy to add 
audit changes unintentionally 
from inadequate error trapping 
in the program. 

For example, the date must be 
entered as dual digits separated 
by a comma (12, 31, 81). If you 
forget this format and type 
12/31/81, the program scrolls 
the screen and prints two ques- 
tion marks, looking for the rest 



of the date. If you compound the 
mistake by typing the whole 
date, you get an "extra ignored" 
message and the date will be 
garbage. Fixing this error at the 
end of the transaction leaves out 
the two top lines, which show 
the account names and code 
numbers. The only way to cor- 
rect a date error is to delete the 
transaction and retype it. Unfor- 
tunately, this is learned by trial 
and error, and each trial is 
recorded by the audit function. 

Select printouts one at a time; 
you cannot ask for printouts of 
all expense accounts and then 
walk away. Paper must be ad- 
justed manually between each 
printout. There is no sort, so en- 
tries are printed in the order 
they were typed. 

In a business environment, 
this program would cause too 
many errors and is too awkward 
to use. It is marketed for the 
home office, and as such, is a 
good buy. For the money, the 
program is very useful, and 
could help organize a com- 
plicated personal or sideline 
business/hobby budget. 
(Edu-Ware East, P.O. Box 
336, Maynard, MA 01 754; 
$29.95 disk.) 

Wynne Keller 
September 1982 

"^ "^ "^ 

Personal Finaiice 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Color Computer 

The Personal Finance Pack 
helps you keep track of 26 
personal-budget categories. The 
program loads instantly when 
you turn on the computer after 
inserting the ROM Pack in 
the slot. 



14/ 



SOFTWARE 




The screen displays a listing of 
26 budget categories common to 
the average person. The list can 
be personalized and remains in 
effect every time you begin a 
new session. You can change 
categories at any time. 

The program accommodates 
up to three separate bank ac- 
counts and balances. Your ex- 
penses can be recorded as they 
occur or at a convenient regular- 
ly scheduled time. Cash pur- 
chases can also be recorded in 
your budget. 

The program has one-key 
commands to move up or down 
the screen to list the budget 
categories, to change from one 
menu to the next, replace check 
numbers, advance to the next 
check number, and to cancel 
checks and deposits. 

After each session, the data 
can be stored on cassette tape. 
You can store up to 1,918 
checks on a Color Computer 
with 16K of memory. Three 
copies are automatically made 
on the same tape to reduce 
chances of loading errors. 

This program is easy to use 
and well documented. Its one 
drawback is that you can't print 



your budget. Nevertheless, it's a 
good buy when you consider 
that setting up your budget will 
help you organize your priorities 
and understand your spending 
habits. 

(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; cat. 
#26-3101, $39.95 Program 
Pack.) 

Carlos Calle 
October 1982 



"^ "^ "^ 

Small Home-Business 

Software 

Blechman Enterprises 

Model I and III 

These programs, useful in the 
home or in small businesses, are 
designed for the Model I with 
16K and an 80-column printer. 
They do not require disk drives 
and are compatible with the 
Model III following a few line 
changes. 

Speed Letter, a mini word pro- 
cessor, is simplicity itself. Han- 
dling both upper- and lowercase, 
it features 10 single-letter com- 
mands and can pack 150 lines of 
text into 16K of memory. 

The program operates on lines 
of text rather than on individual 
words or characters, but within 
this single constraint, allows text 
reviews, line correction, replace- 
ment, insertion, and deletion. 
You save text to tape or stringy- 
floppy. Margins and page 
lengths are defined just prior to 
printing. Printed output is line 
selectable, but vertical spacing 
can only be achieved by adding 
blank lines to text. The pro- 
grams appear to be crashproof. 

The 12-Column Ledger main- 
tains and prints financial records 
for income tax and other pur- 



148 



LANGUAGES 



poses. All column headings are 
displayed throughout data entry. 
This software performs all 
necessary arithmetic and pro- 
duces a clear printout. 

The Three- Across Mailing List 
accepts up to 220 names and ad- 
dresses (in 16K), sorts data ac- 
cording to your preference, and 
prints addresses in three-column 
format on standard mailing 
labels. Each label contains four 
lines of 24 characters. 

The Auto Dialer uses a $3 
telephone interface relay to dial 
the number of any of 500 names 
held in memory. 

Each of the four programs are 
available separately, but the 
combined price is an excep- 
tional buy. 

(Blechman Enterprises, 721 7 
Bernardine, Suite M, Canago 
Park, CA 91307; $49.95.) 

David Smith 
November 1981 



■LANGUAGES- 



^ '^ "^ 

Basic- IP 

Small Systems Software 

Model I 

This program provides full 
TRS-80 Level I Basic capability 
for Level II 16K (and up), adds 
two Level I commands, LLIST 
and LPRINT, and contains two 
additional commands that Level 
11 Basic doesn't have, LPRINTON 
and LPRINTOFF. Basic- IP is a 
machine-language tape that 
loads into the top 4K of RAM 
with a System command, allow- 



ing you 1 1,264 bytes of usable 
RAM when in the Level I mode. 
It is also compatible with most 
printers and includes driver soft- 
ware. The documentation is ex- 
cellent. 

Although it is a useful tape, 
Basic- IP does have limitations. 
Since it was designed as a resi- 
dent interpreter in high RAM to 
act like a Level I Basic ROM, it 
does not accommodate most 
Level I machine-language pro- 
grams. Also, Level I programs 
exceeding 11,264 bytes do not 
fit into the memory available 
when Basic- IP is resident. The 
entry point in RAM is not con- 
trolled by the user, but is pro- 
grammed with the machine 
language. 

(Basic-IP is sold by Small 
Systems Software, P.O. Box 
366, Newbury Park, CA 91320. 
which could not be reached for 
update information.) 

Fred Blechman 
May 1980 

CBasic 

FMG Corporation 

Model I 

The CP/M disk operating 
system by Digital Research has 
been adapted to many systems. I 
chose the one by Don French's 
FMG Corporation. The system 
has the CP/M disk and CBasic. 

CBasic is a compiled Basic, not 
interpreted, and this has its ad- 
vantages. First, you use the 
CP/M editor to Avrite the program 
that lets you create a Basic 
source-code file and edits it as 
necessary. The only line 
numbers you need are labels for 
GOTO, GOSUB, and so on. Since 
there aren't any line numbers, 
you almost have to indent con- 



149 



SOFTWARE 



tinued lines to quickly tell if they 
are continued lines or a new line. 

The statement keywords are 
mostly the same as those in 
TRS-80 Disk Basic with a few ex- 
ceptions. For example, you have 
to DIM every array; there is no 
default. However, you can rc" 
DIM an existing array without 
getting an error. 

CBasic has only integer and 
real numbers. Real numbers 
have 14 digits of precision. The 
first 31 alphanumerics of a 
variable are significant, permit- 
ting long variable names with 
the first two characters the same 
as another. CBasic has no 
graphics and is fussy about the 
difference between integers and 
real numbers. You must be con- 
sistent. 

This Basic has no file 
statements, and I like the CBasic 
files better. There are fewer 
statements to remember, and 
files can have fixed or dynamic 
record lengths. 

The variable record lengths 
save a lot of programming, and 
they are the great advantage of 
this program. They save the 
complicated stepping through 
the 255-byte TRS-80 Disk Basic 
record to find the record you 
want. You can't believe how 
often this eliminates program 
bugs until you try it. 

The second major advantage 
of CBasic is its compiler, which 
catches all the syntax errors for 
you. You can correct errors 
before you run the program. 

One disadvantage of the pro- 
gram is that CBasic data takes 
up more room, but the ease of 
accessing data from the variable 
file lengths far outweighs this. 
Changing a CBasic program re- 
quires that you edit the source 
code (call the editor and load the 



file into memory), recompile the 
program, and run it again, 
usually several disk changes in a 
long program. This, too. is a 
disadvantage. 

A versatile system and fairly 
easy to learn, CP/M DOS in- 
cludes many more options than 
TRSDOS. Two of the manuals 
contained information on how to 
customize CP/M for your system, 
but I found them heavy going. 

The CP/M DOS is a powerful 
system, and once you learn all 
the features, it rivals a large 
computer's operating system. 
The beauty of the system is its 
effectiveness at the beginner's 
level, while challenging the ex- 
perienced user. 

The CP/M editor has several 
advantages. With it, you can find 
a given group of alphanumerics 
anywhere in the program on any 
line with a single command. You 
can search for every occurrence 
of a specific group of 
alphanumerics and replace it 
with another group. 

The CP/M assembler is an 
8080. 1 generally have trouble 
with assemblers, but this one 
works well and is easy to use. It 
has the usual options, pseudo- 
ops, and rules for syntax. The 
DDT is a debugger with many 
useful features. It replaces the 
TRSDOS program DISKDUMP, 
placing a named file into 
memory and reading it out in 
blocks, hex, and ASCII. 

An idiosyncrasy of the com- 
piler is that it only prints out 
lines up to 80 characters long in 
its listing. It sees and correctly 
compiles the remainder of the 
line but doesn't list it. This is a 
nuisance when the compiler 
gives you a syntax error in a 
part of the line it doesn't display. 
The compiler runs slowly, but it 



ISO 



LANGUAGES 



prints out all errors it finds when 
the compilation takes place. 

It's easier and faster to create 
and debug a program using a 
Basic interpreter, but a compiled 
program runs faster and the in- 
itial weeding out of syntax errors 
saves later debugging problems. 

Disk routines are more easily 
written in CBasic. I like the 
system but hate the time it takes 
to go back to the editor to edit a 
program, recompile it, and run it 
again after you make a change. I 
also miss being able to access 
the variables during program 
debugging by simply breaking 
the program and printing the 
variables. But that is the essen- 
tial difference between a com- 
piler and an interpreter. 
(FMG Corporation, P.O. Box 
16020. Fort Worth. TX 76133; 
$150.) 

Ken Knecht 
April 1980 



'W M W W '^ 

CCForth 

Frank Hogg Laboratory Inc. 

Color Computer 

The CCForth package is an ex- 
ample of the software beginning 
to appear for Color Computer 
users. Forth is a stack-oriented 
interpreter and one of the lower- 
level languages around. Lx)w 
level means that certain func- 
tions (such as floating-point 
numbers) aren't available as 
standard features in the 
language. This isn't as bad as it 
sounds and is outweighed by the 
speed advantages offered. 

Stack-oriented means that the 
language is structured around a 
last-in, first-out (LIFO) stack as 
used in machine-code programs. 



Numbers are computed by 
pushing, pulling, and otherwise 
bullying the numbers in this list. 
For example, there are com- 
mands that allow numbers to be 
duplicated, rotated, swapped, 
and other desirable functions. 

The fact that it's interpreted 
gives you the same advantages 
as languages such as Basic. 
Code can be entered, edited, 
tested, and debugged without 
converting it to machine code 
and handing it over to the pro- 
cessor. Thus, if your code con- 
tains a bug. it won't be wiped 
out by a crash (although in 
Forth, if you try hard, you can 
do it). If you don't want to stick 
with the interpreter, you can 
drop down into machine code. 
For this purpose, CCForth con- 
tains a 6809 assembler enabling 
you to link machine code with 
the interpreted CCForth code. 

The highlight of the Forth 
language is that you can define 
your own words and can enter 
them into the Forth dictionary 
and save them if required. 
Subsequent use of the new word 
causes it to be interpreted as if it 
were a standard feature. 

It doesn't stop there though; if 
you want to define another 
word, you can use the word you 
just defined as part of the new 
definition. In effect, you can 
create your own language and in 
doing so, you raise the language 
from lower level to higher level. 
This gives you great power and 
flexibility. If you don't like 
something in Forth you can just 
rewrite it! 

CCForth comes on disk with a 
user's manual. The disk con- 
tains the interpreter and some 
goodies to experiment with. 
These include games, music 
generators, an assembler, source 



151 



SOFTWARE 



listings for two editors, and 
various samples for a total of 
nearly 90 screens. 

Accomplished users of Forth 
find themselves on familiar 
ground as CCForth was written 
around the Forth-79 standard 
published in late 1980. The only 
unfamiliar sight can be the use 
of screens 32 characters wide in- 
stead of the usual 64. This was 
the only sensible course in view 
of the Color Computer's screen 
limitations. Screens are the 
method Forth uses to store 
material on disk. 

The user's manual is a gem. 
My small gripe is that although 
this manual is the right size (SVa 
X 11 inches), it comes as a 
bound book with the pages 
glued at the spine. It's impossi- 
ble to insert updates. 

As you become more familiar 
with the language you can use 
the glossary at the back of the 
book instead of searching 
through the examples. In fact, 
the whole manual becomes more 
serious towards the latter half, a 
touch that makes the book func- 
tional as both a tutor and a 
reference. 

Frank Hogg Laboratory Inc. 
appears to have the best inten- 
tions as regards user support. A 
second version was rushed to 
early purchasers of the package 
when it was realized some 
preproductlon releases of the 
software had found their way on- 
to the market. This bodes well 
for future support. I heartily 
recommend this package. It will 
win a lot of support for the Forth 
language, and justly so. 
(Frank Hogg Ixiboratory Inc., 
1 30 Midtown Plaza, Syracuse, 
NY 13210; $99.95.) 

Jake Commander 
November 1982 



Color Pascal 
Computerware 
Color Computer 

With this compact compiler, 
you can explore the concepts of 
stnictured programming for 
which Pascal, the most suc- 
cessful new language of the '70s, 
is so well known. This is an in- 
teger Pascal of limited capacity, 
the price you pay for a 16K 
machine. Still, enough of the 
flavor of the language comes 
through to let you explore some 
of its novel control structures 
and data types. 

The compiler comes on one 
side of a short cassette with 
three demonstration programs 
on the other side. You also 
receive brief user's manuals 
from Dynasoft of Nova Scotia 
(developers of the compiler) and 
Computerware (its modifiers for 
Color Computer use). The 
booklets form a guide to the syn- 
tax of this particular dialect and 
to Color Computer memory 
usage; they are not Pascal 
references, and the user will not 
get the full benefit of this 
package without obtaining one 
of the many complete works 
now available. 

In the 16K version. Color 
Pascal uses the Power Pack's 
Monitor program to perform I/O 
operations. The compiler, which 
loads with the monitor's L com- 
mand, consists of two programs: 
the Supervisor and the Editor. 
The former is the more general 
control program; you use Editor 
for creating and modifying the 
source code of a Pascal program. 

Entering the E command gets 
you into Editor; to enter source 
code, you must get into the in- 



10^ 



LANGUAGES 



sert mode, which you do by 
entering "I" followed by a 
decimal number for the number 
of lines. You can use an arbitrary 
number, like 9999, to reserve an 
arbitrary amount of workspace. 
You then enter your source-code 
statements, indenting with the 
space bar as appropriate for the 
various levels within the pro- 
gram. A major departure from 
Basic is the absence of line 
numbers; the Pascal Editor uses 
an internal line pointer to in- 
dicate which line of code you are 
working on at any time. You can 
move this pointer throughout 
the workspace by Up, Down, 
Top, and Bottom commands, 
and use it for editing, adding, or 
deleting lines of code. 

After entering source code, 
press Break to get back to 
Editor's command mode. The 
Dynasoft manual refers to the 
use of control-C for this job, 
while the Computerware manual 
does not describe the procedure 
at all. The editor's Q command 
returns you to Supervisor. Save 
your source code first— the com- 
pilation process destroys the 
code in memory— and you are 
ready to compile. 

If errors are detected during 
compilation, the compiler prints 
a one- or two-digit error code and 
upward-pointing caret. Depend- 
ing on the nature of the error, 
however, the caret may actually 
point to the line following the 
one in which the mistake oc- 
curred. Experience in interpret- 
ing the cryptic messages (with 
the aid of the Dynasoft manual) 
is necessary. 

Since the display scrolls con- 
tinuously during compilation, it 
is impossible to keep track of er- 
ror messages in any but the 
shortest programs. The value of 



a printed listing immediately 
becomes clear. The program 
documentation, though, is of lit- 
tle help. The easy way out is the 
Power Pack Monitor's Echo com- 
mand which duplicates every- 
thing on the screen on a printer 
connected to the RS-232 port; in- 
voke the Monitor by hitting 
Reset, and reenter the Pascal 
compiler by the Monitor com- 
mand "J 0700." 

One of the most enjoyable 
things about Basic is the relative 
ease with which you can format 
program outputs. Color Pascal is 
less convenient in this respect. 
For the new user, the manuals 
are useless. 

Color Pascal uses two output 
statements. Write and 
WRITELN, which generate a 
return and line feed. Thus, using 
WRITELN in one of Pascal's 
several types of loops generates 
a new output line for every pass 
through the loop, just like a 
Print statement in Basic. Use 
Write in the same situation, 
however, and successive outputs 
will be printed on the same line, 
one after another. A new line on- 
ly starts when you reach the end 
of your display's or printer's line 
length. 

Color Pascal assumes that 
every integer expression is six 
spaces wide, unless each integer 
variable or expression in an out- 
put statement is followed with a 
colon and specification of the 
minimum field width to be used. 
The starting point is always at 
the left margin, unless you incor- 
porate into the output 
statement's argument a charac- 
ter variable defined in the pro- 
gram to have the value 32, 
which is the ASCII code for the 
space operation, and repeat the 
variable in the output list as 



153 



SOFTWARE 



many times as there are spaces 
required. 

Similarly, you can insert blank 
lines into an output list by using 
WRITELN without an argument, 
or Write with a character 
variable argument which you 
have assigned the value 13 
(ASCII for line feed with carriage 
return). A character variable 
assigned the value 8 generates a 
backspace on the video display, 
although dumb printers like my 
Line Printer VII do not recognize 
it. These are the only video con- 
trol codes the Color Computer 
recognizes; however, you can 
use the same technique to in- 
clude printer control codes. 

What about input? It turns out 
that Color Pascal's Read state- 
ment, READ(X), handles 
numbers in a straightforward 
manner. Just type in your 
number and hit Enter, as usual. 
Character variables are read into 
an array one character at a time. 

Color Pascal is nothing more 
than an introduction into the 
world of structured program- 
ming. The 16K version repre- 
sents a real accomplishment on 
the part of its author{s), but re- 
quires an investment in time 
and effort if you are going to use 
it for complicated programs. 
(Computerware, P.O. Box 668, 
Encinitas, CA 92024. Color 
Pascal is currently only 
available for 32K Color Com- 
puters: $49.95 cassette, $50 
disk.) 

Scott L. Norman 
September 1982 



'^ ^ ^ 

Colorforth 

Armadillo International 

Software 

Color Computer 



•^ -^ ^ ^ 1/2 
Starting Forth 
Leo Brodie 
Prentice-Hall 

Colorforth is an implementa- 
tion for the Color Computer's 
6809 microprocessor of FIG- 
Forth, the standard promoted by 
the Forth Interest Group. The 
documentation is a 12-page At- 
madillo Software pamphlet and 
a detailed FIG glossary. The 
pamphlet contains details on 
changing the memory maps for 
disk and cassette systems, as 
well as a few special features of 
Colorforth. The FIG publication 
includes the manual for the 
source-code text editor. 

Starting Forth 

There's no way a stranger to 
Forth could learn the language 
from this material. Armadillo 
Software suggests you purchase 
Leo Brodie's book. There are 
tutorial reviews, problems with 
solutions, and carefully marked 
sections for novices and relative 
experts. 

The pages of Starting Forth 
are inhabited by marvelous car- 
toon characters who illustrate 
the functions of Forth words and 
features. None of this, however, 
hides the fact that Brodie has 
produced a serious book. It is 
best read at the keyboard where 
you can test the examples in- 
teractively, since certain sections 
are geared to Forth Inc. products 
and discuss features not relevant 
to Colorforth. In most respects. 
Starting Forth is excellent in 
both style and content, and I 
recommend it, 

Colorforth 

The Colorforth software comes 
on cassette, with versions for 



I ^#»^ 



LANGUAGES 



16K systems with or without 
disk drives. There are complete 
instructions for making cassette 
back-ups and for modifying and 
storing disk and cassette ver- 
sions for 32K systems. 

There is also a discussion of 
the simulated disk screens used 
by cassette-based systems. Forth 
uses virtual storage, shuffling 
1,024-character screens between 
disk and RAM as needed. Color- 
forth reserves RAM for the pur- 
pose of simulating such stor- 
age units: four of them in 16K, 
12 in 32K. 

By using the starting and 
finishing addresses specified in 
the documentation, you can 
store the simulated screen's con- 
tents on tape so your newly 
defined text isn't lost at the end 
of a terminal session. You can 
also define new words without 
using a screen, although you 
can't use the text editor to cor- 
rect errors. Words that compile 
correctly become part of Color- 
forth's dictionary, at least for the 
duration of the session. The Col- 
orforth pamphlet also gives the 
addresses used in saving a dic- 
tionary that has been extended. 

Text Screen Operations 

You can define a whole series 
of colored backgrounds if 
desired. The best way is to use 
the text editor by entering a 
whole group of definitions on a 
screen. Remember, words de- 
fined this way don't have to be 
sequential statements in any one 
program. When using a disk, 
prepare the system for screen In- 
put by entering "empty-buffers," 
followed by "disk." The com- 
mand Editor invokes the editor; 
screen - 1 can then be loaded 
with blanks and selected for 
editing by 1 CLEAR, 



A text screen consists of 16 
lines of a maximum of 64 
characters each. The lines are 
numbered 0-15, and you enter 
text on line -n by prefixing your 
material with nP. 

The FIG documentation 
discusses the text editor. It per- 
forms most functions you expect 
from an editor, although some 
operations aren't as convenient. 
For example, it takes two com- 
mands to change one text string 
into another: X oldtext, C 
newtext. 

Dealing with Numbers 

Colorforth initializes in 
decimal, just as Basic does. It 
does have a built-in hexadecimal 
capability, however, and it's 
easy to define the system you 
want and have Colorforth 
operate in any other base. 

You can switch between 
decimal and hexadecimal with 
the words Decimal and Hex. 
These are toggled commands, so 
exercise caution if you change 
bases in the middle of a routine. 

Colorforth is set up to do fixed- 
point arithmetic only, using 
signed 16-bit numbers (32767 to 
-32768). This is a general proper- 
ty of Forth, even when used on 
8-bit microprocessors. Some 
double-length operations are 
available, and it's possible to 
write floating-point routines, but 
this is one reason Colorforth 
wouldn't be the language of 
choice for scientific number 
crunching. 

To enter a double-length 
number, you punctuate it with a 
period; you can enter 100000 as 
100.000, for example. Colorforth 
also has formatting commands 
similar to Print Using for output- 
ting large numbers. 

Although the range of 



155 



SOFTWARE 



numbers usable for calculation 
is limited, some operators do in- 
terpret 16 bits as an assigned 
number (0-65536). As you'll 
see, this is what you need to ad- 
dress memory-mapped I/O in the 
Color Computer. 

Comparison and 

Control Structures 

Colorforth has a fairly com- 
plete set of comparison oper- 
ators, which are used to control 
program branching within 
If . . . Then . . . Else statements. 
Because of RPN, the syntax of 
these commands takes some 
time getting used to, although 
the ideas are familiar enough 
from Basic. Here are Color Basic 
and Colorforth program frag- 
ments that accept a number 
from the keyboard, test it to see 
if it's positive or negative, and 
print the results: 

Color Basic 

100 INPUT N 

1 10 IF N>0 THEN PRINT 

"POSITIVE" ELSE PRINT 

NEGATIVE 

Colorforth 

:TESTO>IF. "POSITIVE" ELSE. 
"NEGATIVE" THEN; 
(Used by entering N TEST) 

Notice that in Colorforth, the 
words If and Then span the 
possible branches the program 
might take, but not the decision- 
making portion. That comes 
before the If, in the form re- 
quired by RPN; for example, 
(N>0) becomes (N0>), where, in 
my example, N is put on the 
stack from the keyboard. This 
example also introduces dot- 
quote, the word used to print 
literals. Neither example con- 
siders the possibility that N 
equals zero. 



In the Basic example, control 
passes to the statement follow- 
ing line 110 after a message has 
been printed. Similarly. Color- 
forth passes to whatever follows 
Then. There is a difference, of 
course, in that the Basic 
If. . . Then could have altered 
program flow by using state- 
ment numbers instead of the 
Print commands. Because Color- 
forth is a structured language 
without line numbers, there are 
no other words within the 
If . . . Then to execute actions 
other than printing, however. 
After they are executed, control 
eventually returns to the word 
following Then. 

Colorforth comparison expres- 
sions can be quite lengthy, as 
they are in Basic. Simple 
algebraic comparisons can be 
logically combined, using AND. 
OR, or XOR operators. 

Color Basic has only one kind 
of repetitive structure: the 
definite For . . . Next loop where 
the index's lower and upper 
bounds are specified. Colorforth 
has a similar construct, called a 
DO loop, plus a pair of indefinite 
forms, the Begin . . . Until and 
Begin . . . While . . . Repeat loops. 
The DO loop can't be executed 
interactively; it must be com- 
piled into a word, although you 
can specify one or both limits 
from the keyboard when the 
word is executed. 

Constants, "Variables, 
and Arrays 

Although Colorforth uses the 
stack for temporary storage, it 
also lets you name constants 
and variables for future 
reference. The naming phrases 
are: Variable (name) and (value) 
Constant (name). These phrases 
are not colon definitions. It is not 



156 



LANGUAGES 



necessary to speciiy tlie runC" 
tions of Variable and Constant, 
they're predelined words, and 
their machine code takes care 
of that. 

Storing data in an array or 
retrieving it is more complicated 
than in Basic, because Colorlorth 
doesn't support subscripted 
variables. You specify the first 
storage location by using the ar* 
ray name, and then add an offset 
to get to the desired location. 

Colorlorth can also handle 
multidimensional arrays. You 
must decide on a convenient 
method for converting multiple 
subscripts to single address off- 
sets. Brodie's book gives a nice 
example for two-dimensional ar- 
rays, which wind up being 
stored column-wise. All the 
elements of the first column, 
starting with the uppermost, are 
stored, then all the elements of 
the second column, and so on. 
This is actually the way many 
high-level languages treat such 
data structures. 

Something 
Completely Different 

Here are a couple examples of 
the way you can use Colorlorth 
with the Color Computer's I/O 
structure. 

Anyone who has used the Col- 
or Computer's joystick knows 
about memory address 65280. 
which is PEEKed to test the 
status of the trigger buttons. You 
can give this address a name, 
such as Port: 65280 CONSTANT 
PORT. Colorforth interprets this 
properly. The word Looksee 
prints the contents of this loca- 
tion: LOOKSEE 2 TIMER PORT 
C@.:. 

Entering Looksee from the 
keyboard causes the system to 
wait two seconds and then 



prints the contents— 255 or 127 
if you press neither joystick trig- 
ger. 254 or 126 for the right trig- 
ger, and so on. Since a single 
memory location can only con- 
lain an 8-bit number, the proper 
fetch command is C@. It is easy 
to incorporate Looksee into an 
If. . .Then statement, causing a 
program branch, rather than 
having it print and stop. 

While Port is a constant whose 
value is put on the stack when 
used in another word, there's 
nothing wrong with this value 
representing the address of 
something else. Remember, if 
Port is defined as a variable, its 
address is put on the stack, not 
the address of the trigger-button 
sensor. 

The final example uses this 
sort of labeling, and is less 
trivial: a sound generator. This 
program generates a square 
wave at approximately 500 Hz 
and routes it to the Color Com- 
puter's composite video output. 
If you're interested in this sort of 
thing, you need detailed 
reference material. I recommend 
the Radio Shack reference or ser- 
vice manuals, or the Facts book 
from Spectral Associates. 

Summary 

Colorforth may seem complex 
when compared with Color 
Basic, but it's closer to Assembly 
language in the level of detail re- 
quired. Remember, with Color- 
forth you get a higher degree of 
control over machine operations 
than Basic offers, coupled with 
high speed. I haven't covered 
text manipulation, but the words 
for sophisticated text I/O are pre- 
sent in the starting vocabulary. 
This is where I should encourage 
you to get the software and the 
book and find out for yourself. 



157 



SOFTWARE 



Just: one more thing: You can 
apply the bit twiddling used in 
the definition of Soundoff to pro- 
gram the SAM and VDG circuits 
for graphics. 

(Armadillo International Soft- 
ware, Austin, TX 78712; 
$49.95. Prentice-Hall, 
Engleuxxxi Cliffs, NJ 07632; 
Softcover, 348 pp., $15.95.) 

Scott L. Norman 
December 1982 



Compiler Basic 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I or III 

This software is not a Basic- 
language compiler. It is Com- 
piler Basic, an entirely new type 
of Basic that is designed to be 
compiled by this program. 

Radio Shack says that this 
compiler is business oriented 
and intended for use as a tool for 
the development of new soft- 
ware. They are serious about 
this and unless your goal is new 
business software, look 
elsewhere. 

Compiler Basic is composed of 
several programs that work 
together in the development and 
operation of a compiled pro- 
gram. The first part is RSBasic, 
the Basic language that the 
Compiler recognizes. It is 
similar, but not identical, to 
Level II Basic. RSBasic does not 
support many Level 11 instruc- 
tions. RSBasic also has many 
unique commands. 

The difference between Basics 
is only a minor inconvenience. 
Before buying it, ask yourself if 
you will use the compiler 
enough to warrant learning the 
new Basic. RSBasic is not com- 



patible with Ixvel II Basic: you 
can't compile Level II Basic pro- 
grams without making substan- 
tial changes. 

The second part is the run- 
time program, which you must 
have in the computer before you 
can run any compiled program. 

The third part of Compiler 
Basic is the compiler, a function 
of RSBasic. The compiler is in- 
visible to the programmer. With 
the run-time, DOS, and RSBasic 
programs in memory, a 32K 
machine has about l,v500 bytes 
of programming room left. A 
48K machine would have a little 
over 16K of programming room. 

The fourth part of Compiler 
Basic is the TRSDOS operating 
system, version 2.3B. It is not 
compatible with any other DOS. 
Radio Shack supplies an 
upgrade module that will per- 
manently change any previous 
TRSDOS to version 2.3B. 

If you use a different operating 
system, forget it. If you have im- 
plemented speed modifications 
on your computer you must 
disable them to get the slow 
TRSDOS to operate. 

The package contains addi- 
tional modules such as BEdit, an 
editor module for editing the 
Basic source code. These 
modules are mostly controlled 
by RSBasic and are fully covered 
in the documentation. 

Expecting that Compiler Basic 
would work more quickly than 
Disk Basic, I compiled a short 
program to test the speed. While 
this simple program was not a 
good test of the compiler, it did 
give interesting results. The 
compiled program took 24.5 
seconds to run. The same pro- 
gram under Disk Basic took 12.6 
seconds. 

If speed is your goal, stay 



158 



LANGUAGES 



away from this compiler. Speed 
is not the goal of Radio Shack's 
Compiler Basic, and it does not 
appear to be a secondary benefit. 

Operation is fairly simple. 
With features such as the Auto 
command, you can enter your 
Basic program from the 
keyboard. If you have a Basic 
program already on disk, you 
can load and finish it in RSBasic. 
RSBasic loads Level II Basic pro- 
grams if they are on a 2.3B disk, 
but it will not compile them. 

One drawback is that the so- 
called compiled version you save 
on disk is not really compiled. 
The compiler in RSBasic com- 
piles the program into in- 
termediate code. Each time you 
want to run your program you 
must run it with the run-time 
program that compiles the in- 
termediate code into final code. 
This leads to some problems 
when you try to sell your 
programs. 

I do not rate this prograni 
highly for flexibility. First, it 
recognizes only the exact syntax 
of RSBasic. If you have spent a 
great deal of time writing Level 11 
programs, expect to spend the 
same amount of time to make 
them work in RSBasic. 

Second, you are restricted to 
TRSDOS 2.3B. No other DOS 
works. You cannot move the 
finished program to a different 
DOS. Third, you must have the 
run-time disk to run the finished 
product. This limits the salabili- 
ty of the product you create by 
establishing a minimum price of 
$20. Your profit is then tacked 
on top of that. 

It Radio Shack has intended to 
create a complicated way of 
making Basic programs secure 
from theft, they have succeeded. 
With Compiler Basic you can 



write a Basic program that can- 
not be listed. The original source 
code will be almost totally in- 
decipherable. 

Is the program valuable to the 
average programmer? To 
answer this, consider its cost, 
flexibility (discussed above), 
security (a person purchasing 
your program can't alter it but 
can make limitless copies), use 
(designed for developing 
business-oriented software), and 
size (a 48K machine can compile 
only a 17K program). 

Radio Shack's Compiler Basic 
Is a poor investment. To be fair, 
the program seems to function 
well and it appears to be proper- 
ly documented. If you need this 
type of program, then Compiler 
Basic is a good risk. It does ex- 
actly what it claims. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $149.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
February 1982 



Extended Color Basic 
Microsoft, Tandy/Radio Shack 
Color Computer 

Extended Color Basic for the 
Color Computer is a powerful 
language rivaling Disk Basic in 
its repertoire while lacking some 
features of Level II. 

All arithmetic functions are 
carried out in nine significant 
figures and it is amazingly fast, 
especially in graphics functions, 
You can draw a rectangle in a 
few tenths of a second and fill it 
with a different color in two 
seconds or less. 

Extended Color Basic offers 
these new instructions to 8K 
Color Basic: AT AN (same as 
Level II); CIRCLE (for high- 



159 



SOFTWARE 



resolution graphics); CLOAD M 
(loads a machine-language pro- 
gram at 1500 baud); COLOR 
(foreground and background); 
COS (same as Level II); CSAVEM 
(writes a machine-language pro- 
gram to tape); DEF FN (same as 
Disk Basic); DEF USR (same as 
Disk Basic); DEL (same as Delete 
in Level II); DLOAD M (loads 
machine-language programs at 
300 or 1200 baud); DRAW 
(graphics instruction); EDIT 
(Level II, but with a few impor- 
tant differences); EXP (same as 
Level II); Exponentiation (same 
as Level II); FIX (same as Level 
II); GET (puts a section of a high- 
res screen into an array); HEX$ 
(converts decimal to hex); INSTR 
(returns the starting point of a 
substring within another string); 
LET; LINE; LINE INPUT (same 
as Disk Basic); and LOG (same 
as Level II). 

The instructions also include: 
MID$ (same as Disk Basic); 
PAINT (fills an area of the 
screen); PCLEAR (clears high-res 
graphics memory); PCl^ X (sets 
the screen background color); 
PCOPY (save graphics pages); 
PEEK (same as Level II); PLAY 
(sound); PMODE (select resolu- 
tion); POKE (same as Level II); 
POS(X) (returns the current cur- 
sor position); PPOINT (high-res 
POINT); PRESET (resets a point 
to the background color); PRINT 
USING (same as Level II); PSET 
(high-res SET); PUT (places an 
array set up by GET on the 
screen); RENUM; SCREEN (re- 
tain contents of screen when 
switching modes); STRINGS 
(same as Level II); STR$ (same 
as Level II); SQR (same as Level 
II); TAB (same as Level II); 
TIMER; TRON-TROFF (same as 
Level II); and VARPTR (same as 
Level II). 



The well-written instruction 
manual includes plenty of exer- 
cises and examples. There are 
21 complete graphics and sound 
programs, as well as a memory 
map with entry points for a 
number of useful ROM routines. 

When using the higher resolu- 
tion graphics it is not possible to 
put characters on the screen. 
They must be drawn with Draw 
instructions. In high resolution, 
the pages of screen memory are 
retained and can be recalled or 
erased by PCl^. 

For its price, the Color Com- 
puter with 16K and Extended 
Color Basic is a bargain, 
especially if you use it for games, 
graphics or educational purposes. 

The main differences between 
Extended Color Basic and Level 
II or Disk Basic are in the 
memory map and the way Basic 
tokens are used. Whereas Level 
II and Disk Basic use only one 
number to store an instruction. 
Extended Color Basic uses up to 
three. Line numbers and 
pointers are stored the same as 
Level II except the order is MSB, 
LSB for the 6809E. 

Some Level II instructions I 
miss are On Error GOTO, ERL/2 
+ 1, Edit, DEFINT, DEFSNG, 
DEFDBL and the serial printer 
output is slower than parallel. 

Extended Color Basic does 
have upper- and lowercase 
capability (for the printer only) 
and can access Videotex with in- 
expensive software. 

The 32-character by 16-line 
screen is a disadvantage, but is 
easy to read. For some, the 
joysticks are a plus. The cassette 
system has not given me a poor 
or difficult load in over 300 tries 
and is three times as fast as 
Level II and six times as fast as 
Level I. 



160 



LANGUAGES 



(Extended Color Basic Upgrades 
are available from your local 
Radio Shack store for $99. A 
Tninirrmm of 1 6K is required.) 

Franklyn D. Miller 
June/July 1982 

"^ "^ "^ "^ 

Extended muMATH 
Microsoft 
Model I and III 

muMATH is a symbolic math- 
ematics package for microcom- 
puters. An abbreviated version 
of this package has been 
available for some time, but is 
much weaker than the CP/M ver- 
sion. Microsoft finally released 
the extended version and it is 
worth the wait! 

muMATH is written in 
muSIMP, and RLISP-like cortex 
parser for an internal Lisp struc- 
ture. It performs exact arith- 
metic (to 61 1 digits) and does 
not normally attempt to reduce 
fractions— 3/7 remains 3/7, not 
some floating-point approxima- 
tion like 0.4285714. Hence, 
muMATH arithmetic is exact. 
Extended muMATH can print 
answers in decimal notation to 
any number of digits you like. 

muMATH allows mathemati- 
cal manipulation of symbols, like 
X, without assigning them a 
value (or binding). The use of 
unbound variables gives 
muMATH its great power. You 
can assign non-numeric values 
to a variable. You can bind A to 
(X-f-2*Y)/Z-Q. You can evaluate 
A by temporarily assigning X, Y, 
Z, and Q numerical values, using 
the EVAL or EVSUB functions. 

The extended muMATH 
package has several enhance- 
ments to the original abbrevi- 
ated TRS-80 version including: 



©allowing decimal output of 

numerical results in addition to 

the standard rational arithemetic 

output; 

•an enhanced integral calculus 

package for more sophisticated 

integration; 

• fast loads and saves of muSIMP 
environments to and from disk; 
•a Limit package to evaluate 
limits; 

•a Sigma package to evaluate 
sums and products (including in- 
finite sums and products when 
combined with the Limit 
package); 

®a complete Matrix package in- 
cluding matrix addition, trans- 
position, inversion, and division; 
»an equation-solving package for 
solving various types of equa- 
tions (including simultaneous 
equations; when combined with 
the Matrix package); 
•a Trace package used for de- 
bugging muSIMP and muMATH 
functions; 

•EDIT80, a line and character- 
oriented editor for creation of 
your own function files for 
muMATH; 

• interactive lessons on disk for 
learning to use muMATH; 
•an improved manual; and 

®all the files (with some updates) 
that came with the abbreviated 
TRS-80 version. 

Other enhancements include 
MEMORY(X,Y), which is similar 
to POKE X,Y. TRS-80 graphics 
functions are supported in- 
cluding CLS to clear the screen; 
Cursor to position the cursor; 
and Point, Set, and Reset to test, 
turn on, or turn off any graphics 
pixel on the video screen. 
TRS-80 ROM routines can be 
called either by assigning the 
jump vectors correctly, or with 
the PUTD command. You should 
use this capability with care 



161 



SOFTWARE 



however; the ROM has many ex- 
its to Disk Basic, and if one is 
taken, it's off to Neverneverland. 

Overall, I am quite impressed 
with the expanded version. It is 
powerful and can handle more 
sophisticated integration prob- 
lems, compute limits, finite or 
even infinite sums and products, 
and contains very powerful 
matrix manipulation abilities. 

The package lacks a function 
to save ASCII files from the 
muMATH environment. This 
would let you debug functions 
within muMATH and then save 
them directly on disk. Further, it 
would be nice to be able to save 
the functions in the distilled 
D-code onto disk for quicker 
loading. Currently, single func- 
tions and entire packages must 
be loaded and are incrementally 
compiled during the load. The 
exception is entire muSlMP en- 
vironments that can be saved 
and loaded. 

A complete tutorial on 
muSIMP in the manual would be 
helpful as none are available 
anywhere on muSIMP or its 
cousin RLISP. And better 
distinction could have been 




made in the differences in usage 
between Function and Subrou- 
tine. The former is call by value 
and the latter is call by name. 

Even with these reservations, 
the expanded version of 
muMATH is one of the few pro- 
grams that, by itself, warrants 
purchasing a computer. 

Who should buy this package? 
Parents and educators wanting 
to teach mathematics to 
students' students who want to 
learn more about mathematics 
in an interactive environment; 
professionals who work with 
mathematics on a daily basis, 
and would like to save time per- 
forming time-consuming 
mathematical manipulations: 
and the curious, who want to 
know more about the topics of 
artificial intelligence, computer 
algebra, structured program- 
ming, or symbolic mathematics. 
(Microsoft, 10700 Northup Way, 
Bellevue, WA 98004; $250.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
November 1982 



GRBasic 3,0 

Med Systems Software 

Model I and III 

GRBasic integrates with any 
operating system to provide 
enhanced graphics and sound 
capabilities for your Model I or 
III. It can be a useful tool for the 
development of games and even 
some plotting programs. With it 
you can view graphics in a vari- 
ety of perspectives and create 
useful line, circle and arbi- 
trary shape-drawing commands, 
as well as sound-producing 
commands. 

With GRBasic you can draw 
shapes from a shape table or en- 



162 



lANGUAGES 



code a shape as a set of numbers 
and POKE it into a block of 
memory (a 127-byte block is 
reserved for this). 

The commands fall into four 
categories: line drawing— 
LDRAW(R) and LDRAW(S); cir- 
cle drawing— CIRCLE(R) and 
CIRCLE{S); shape drawing— 
SDRAW(R). SDRAW(S), Size, 
and Turn; and sound genera- 
tion—Audio. 

When you execute GRBasic 
from your operating system, it 
automatically loads in Basic and 
begins Basic for you. The com- 
mands are integrated into the in- 
terpreter's parser, so you only 
need to type in the command, 
with the appropriate syntax and 
parameters, to execute it. If you 
have improper parameters or 
have incorrect syntax, you are 
informed through the normal 
Basic error routines. 

Besides the GRBasic pro- 
grams, you also get MIS- 
SILE/BAS, a demo program, and 
SEDIT/BAS, a shape-table editor, 
written in Basic. 

I received a disk copy, which 
includes a version for each 
memory size. It comes on a non- 
system disk, so TRSDOS users 
may send a TRSDOS disk and 
they will place GRBasic on it. 

The manual is well- written 
and reproduced. It's about 20 
pages long and has a very useful 
table of contents. 

As good as GRBasic is, I would 
like to see the following im- 
provements: Change the Turn 
command to allow rotations by 
other than 45-degree in- 
crements; allow the user to input 
three-dimensional objects and 
have GRBasic display the two- 
dimensional isoclines of the 
figure (projection of the figure 
onto a plane); and change the 



Audio command so you can play 
musical scales, both major and 
minor. 

GRBasic is a quality product 
backed by a company that pro- 
vides excellent service and 
support. 

(Med Systems Software, P.O, 
Box 3558, Chapel Hill, NC 
27514; cassette $19.95. disk 
$24.95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
June/July 1982 

■^ ^ ^ 1/2 

ICL (Interactive Control 

Language) 

XYZT Computer Dimensions 

Inc. 

Model I and ni 

ICL is a simple job control 
language for TRS-80s with 
NEWDOS 2.1 or NEWDOS80 
and 32K or 48K of RAM. 

ICL is an interpreted language 
that controls various DOS com- 
mands and functions and allows 
you to program any order of 
their execution. The simplest ex- 
ample of a use for ICL is running 
batches of programs that require 
no intricate program interven- 
tion or supervision. Who wants 
to sit around and load programs 
and watch them execute? ICL 
frees you from supervising your 
computer. 

The five divisions of ICL com- 
mands are I/O, I/O support, ICL 
interpreter, execution, and con- 
trol interception. 

ICL is semi-structured in that 
it supports procedures, labels, 
and line numbers, as well as 
variables. Before a given ICL line 
is executed, all variables are 
parsed and their values are sub- 
stituted into the expression. 

You can display text 



163 



SOFTWARE 



messages, read data from the 
keyboard, clear the keyboard 
queue, cancel a running pro- 
gram, specify a number of op- 
tions, output text to the printer, 
place text in the keyboard 
queue, or suppress display of 
text. The options mentioned in- 
clude: disable common video 
display driver, toggle the display 
of the current ICL line being in- 
terpreted, turn on/off the 
keyboard queue, allow for single- 
byte keyboard requests, copy 
display output to the keyboard 
queue, enable/disable non- 
alphanumeric characters to be 
present in data taken from the 
queue. ICL also returns an error 
code, displaying the execution 
state of the last procedure. 

The 65-page ICL manual in- 
cludes a useable table of con- 
tents, an alphabetical reference 
section of the commands and 
pseudo-ops, examples to aid 
learning the language, and an 
Advanced Techniques section 
for developing skill in more in- 
teresting uses of ICL. 

ICL is sufficiently powerful to 
automate many of the more 
tedious procedures that we all 
have to perform on our com- 
puters. It is a good product and 
may be Just what you are 
waiting for. 

(XYZT Computer Dimensions 
Inc., 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1500, 
New York, NY 10121; disk $59.) 
Bruce Powel Douglass 
June/ July 1982 

* * * 1/2 
Level III 
Microsoft 
Model I 

Level III Basic is not just 
another Basic, but an actual 
enhancement to the versatile 



Level II Basic. It is attractively 
packaged and accompanied by 
an excellent instruction manual 
as well as a convenient fold-up 
card containing all statements, 
commands, and functions of 
both Levels II and III. Level III 
statements are printed in red on 
the card. 

As soon as Level III is loaded, 
there is more reliable tape 
loading and no more keyboard 
bounce. There are many one- 
letter abbreviations and some 
even include enter. Other 
features include LSET entries 
that are user-changeable, line 
renumbering, spelled-out error 
messages, one-operation date 
and time setting, and conversion 
of hexadecimal numbers. 

Level III graphics capabilities 
are considerably advanced over 
those of Level II. Two graphics 
modes are used in Level III. In 
character mode, the screen is 
divided into a grid composed of 
64 character positions across by 
16 down. In graphics mode a 
finer grid, measuring 128 across 
by 48 down, is used. Three new 
Level III graphic statements can 
be used in either mode, and the 
graphics themselves are fast. 

Level III Basic is a worthwhile 
acquisition for any serious 
TRS-80 user, especially one who 
would like the power of Disk 
Basic without the added expense 
of a disk drive. With all the ex- 
tras not contained in Disk Basic, 
it becomes desirable even for a 
disk owner. 

(An updated version of Level III 
Basic is sold by Microsoft, 
10700 Northup Way, Bellevue, 
WA 98004. It is now available 
for the Model I and III, disk 
$49.95 or cassette $29.95.) 

Ronald H. Bobo 
May 1980 



164 



LANGUAGES 



"^ "^ "^pf "^ 

Lisp 
Supersof t Inc. 

"^ "X" w « 

UOLISP 

Far West Systems and 

Software 

Model I or III 

Lisp stands for list processor. 
Lisp is the language of choice in 
artificial-intelligence program- 
ming, because of its flexibility, 
power, and ability to work with 
symbolic expressions. The two 
Lisps reviewed here are good im- 
plementations of the language; 
they do, however, take different 
approaches. 

Supersoft's Lisp is not a "tiny" 
Lisp, but a complete version 
allowing full recursion. It has a 
PROG construct to allow using 
sequential types of programs 
written in Lisp. Lisp runs in 16K 
with cassette systems and sup- 
ports single-precision, floating- 
point arithmetic and functions. 
It uses the Basic ROM routines to 
do this, which accounts for con- 
siderable reduction in the size of 
the Lisp interpreter. 

The package provides a few 
abilities beyond normal Lisp 
packages. Basic transcendental 
functions. Explode and Implode 
functions, PEEK and POKE, 
LPRINT, and an Editor function 
are all included in Supersoft's 
Lisp package. 

This Lisp is excellent for 
beginners and advanced pro- 
grammers. It is easy to use, and 
many TRS-80 functions and 
floating-point routines are sup- 
ported, adding to its flexibility. 

UOLISP is not quite as com- 
plete an implementation as 
Supersoft's Lisp, but it has other 



attractions. The extras that 
come in the UOLISP package in- 
clude a Lisp interpreter, a Lisp 
compiler, a Meta language 
writing system, an RLisp com- 
piler, a Trace function, and a 
small Lisp editor. UOLISP 
doesn't support floating-point 
numbers, Explode, Implode, or 
Expand functions. 

The Meta Translator Writing 
System sits on top of the Lisp in- 
terpreter. The intended use for 
Meta in the UOLISP package is 
for language-design experimen- 
tation. Meta supports BNF-like 
syntax, recursive-descent pars- 
ing schemes, lexical primitives, 
pattern-directed code generation, 
and syntax-error message 
generation. Examples are given, 
and a calculator-like language is 
implemented before your very 
eyes. If you've ever wanted a 
simple way to translate Fortran 
into Basic or Pascal into PL/C, 
this is the proper environment. 

Another feature of UOLISP is 
that it contains an RLisp parser. 
RLisp is a cortex syntax for Lisp. 
It provides Lisp with a more 
understandable syntax. It con- 
tains a parser that reads in 
RLisp syntax and parsers the 
expressions into Lisp format, 
and then passes it over to Lisp to 
evaluate. It is easy to move 
back and forth between RLisp 
and Lisp. 

Although UOLISP lacks 
floating point and a few Lisp 
functions, it is fairly complete 
and easy to use, once you figure 
out how. If you have experience 
in Lisp and like to experiment, 
UOLISP is a great choice. 
(Lisp is sold by Supersoft Inc., 
P.O. Box 1628, Champaign, IL 
61820; $100 disk, $75 cassette. 
UOLISP is marketed by Far 
West Systems and Software, 



165 



SOFTWARE 



RO. Box 3301, Eugene, OR 
97403; $109.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
December 1982 



MMSFORTH 

Miller Microcomputiiig 

Services 

Model I or III 

Forth is the latest language for 
the TRS-80 from Miller Micro- 
computing Services (MMS). It is 
a hybrid language, combining 
the clarity of a high-level 
language like Basic, with the 
speed of low-level language pro- 
gramming in Assembly. 

Unlike Basic and most other 
high-level languages that 
separate the programmer from 
machine code. Forth lets the pro- 
grammer maneuver back and 
forth between high-level easy-to- 
use programming techniques, 
and direct assembly-language 
programming. Thus you can in- 
terchange programs between dif- 
ferent processors using Forth, 
with only minor alterations to 
specific routines. 

Forth uses a technique known 
as Indirect Threading Code. This 
means that Forth is a stack- 
oriented programming language- 
It is composed of a number of 
Assembly-language modules, or 
primitives, each with a specific 
task or purpose. These primi- 
tives are each named and can be 
selectively called up or combined 
into words. It is this technique 
that gives Forth its tremendous 
power. 

Unlike other programming 
languages, the ability to define 
new words, or primitives, in the 
Forth dictionary is always 



available to you through its 
catalog function. And there is no 
run-time penalty for these new 
words. For example, CLS is a 
Forth word made up of two 
primitives— home cursor and 
clear to end of page. So 
whenever you want to clear the 
screen, you enter the word CLS. 

Another example is List. List 
is used to put a page of memory 
on the video. Now suppose that 
you want to clear the screen 
each time before you put the 
new page on the video. You can 
enter CLS and then 10 LIST (to 
list page ten of memory), or you 
can define a new word that uses 
these two words in its own defi- 
nition, calling it CLIST, like this: 
:CLIST CLS LIST. 

From then on, every time you 
enter 10 CLIST, you get a clear 
screen and the new page 10 
listed. And CLS and List are still 
available for use separately. 

If you want to save added new 
words for future use, it can easi- 
ly be done using the command 
DWTSECS (include the proper 
parameters, of course). 

New primitives can be defined 
in Forth using the built-in Forth 
Editor Assembler, and added to 
its catalog, if your present ver- 
sion of Forth doesn't have the 
proper primitives or prede- 
fined words to do the task you 
have in mind. 

There are three stacks used in 
Forth. The most commonly used 
stack is the parameter stack, 
which starts at the high end of 
memory and works its way 
down. This particular stack's 
function is for user inputs and 
outputs, and is also used as a 
scratch pad by the various 
words and primitives. The sec- 
ond stack is the return stack, 
which also starts at high 



166 



LANGUAGES 



memory and grows toward low 
memory. It is used primarily by 
Forth as a loop counter. The last 
stack is a hardware stack used 
by the Z80 processor and is not 
normally available to you in 
programs. 

Because of these stacks, per- 
manent memory locations don't 
have to be assigned to tem- 
porary variables. This cuts down 
tremendously the amount of 
overhead memory required to 
run Forth. 

One very nice mathematical 
feature of Forth is its ability to 
switch from one number base to 
another without any run-time 
penalties. All the Forths support 
the standard bases of HEX, OC- 
TAL, and DECIMAL. 

In Summary 

Forth is a very versatile 
language, combining the best 
sides of both high-level and low- 
level languages, excluding many 
of their disadvantages. It extends 
and contracts easily. It lets you 
interface equipment to software 
with comparatively little work. 
Most MMSFORTH programs can 
be switched from one processor 
to another with only minor 
changes. Programming with 
MMSFORTH is structured, with 
control passing from the most 
general of commands down- 
wards to the most specific, and 
many programs may be execut- 
ed just by entering their name. 

In view of these facts, many 
programmers will find Forth to 
be just what they need to 
develop software for new hard- 
ware devices compatible with 
the TRS-80. 

There is one last note. Unlike 
the other Z80 versions of Forth, 
MMS supports only the 8080 
Assembler commands. For those 



who don't want to write a new 
assembler for the Z80 com- 
mands (in Forth of course), MMS 
is now selling an add-on utility 
that supplies the Z80 Assembler 
Editor and full flowing-point 
math routines. 
(Miller Microcomputing Ser- 
vices, 61 Lake Shore Road, 
Natick, MA 01 760; The 
MMSFORTH version 2.0 re- 
quires 32K and one disk drive. 
$129.95, MicroForth Primer 
$1 7.50.) 

Terry Kepner 
November 1980 



MMSFORTH 2.0 
Miller Microcomputer 
Services 
Model I and III 

I was intrigued for some time 
by ads for MMSFORTH. I read 
with interest claims that 
MMSFORTH was 10 to 20 times 
faster than E3asic, that it was 
stack-oriented, that you could 
add your own commands, that it 
had a great editor, and a variety 
of utilities, and that MMS would 
provide professional support. It 
seemed almost too good to be 
true, so I bought the language. 
Now my Model I has a new per- 
sonality. 

MMSFORTH is available for 
the Models I and III on disk or 
cassette. The Model I cassette 
version requires only 16K to 
run; the Model III requires 32K. 
Both disk systems need only one 
drive. 

The System, Program, and 
Utility disks arrive in a three- 
ring binder with a 126-page in- 
struction manual. The manual 
includes chapters on Forth 
operations, editing commands, 



16i 



SOFTWARE 



input/output to disk and printer, 
data declarations, text handling, 
conditionals, branches, and 
loops. Three programs, ranging 
from easy to difficult, provide 
detailed study notes. This is sup- 
plemented with instructions for 
using MMSFORTH system 
utilities and a system index. The 
documentation is complete and 
well-written, but it is not a text- 
book on Forth programming and 
requires careful reading for the 
first-time user. 

The optional Utilities disk in- 
cludes a Cross-Reference utility 
(XREF), Floating Point Math, 
and a Z80 Assembler. 

For the rest of the documenta- 
tion you must sign two license 
agreement forms promising not 
to sell or give away MMSFORTH. 
Programs written for sale require 
the end user to have the 
MMSFORTH system or be under 
a separate licensing agreement. 
Personal use and back-ups are 
not restricted. 

System Utilities 

The Model I System disk 
comes ready to run on a 16K 
system, but you can configure 
the disk to your particular 
hardware. 

Customize permits you to 
specify the directory block, the 
lowest unprotected block, 
memory size, printer margin, 
the number of block buffers, 
disk startup speed, and number 
of disk drives. For each drive 
you may specify single or double 
density (Model III), number of 
tracks, and track access speed. 
Finally, there is an Auto com- 
mand to perform a sequence of 
commands on booting the 
system. 

You can select the maximum 
number of block buffers (editor- 



like functions while inputting 
from the keyboard), a lowercase 
driver, and a special printer 
driver for the MX-80. 

Other utilities on the System 
disk allow copying a range of 
blocks to another location, find- 
ing any word in a range of 
blocks (with options to print and 
edit matches), and translating 
source code from version 1.9 to 
the present 2.0 version of 
MMSFORTH. 

As delivered, MMSFORTH is 
limited to character (8-bit) and 
single-precision (16-bit) integer 
arithmetic. What this lacks in 
handiness and dynamic range is 
compensated for by speed. You 
can add the following from the 
System disk (depending in 
memory): double-precision in- 
tegers, arrays, strings, random 
numbers, graphics, screenprint, 
cassette functions, clock, and a 
few other utilities. Loading them 
all takes an additional 8K when 
compiled onto a System disk us- 
ing Customize. 

The optional Utilities disk has 
single and double precision 
floating point math derived 
largely from ROM routines to 
conserve memory. You can 
select radians or degrees modes 
for trig functions, rectangular to 
polar coordinate conversions, 
complex numbers, imaginary- 
numbers, and a superfast pro- 
gram to solve quadratic equa- 
tions. A flexible cross-referencing 
program will print all references 
to words you choose in the range 
of blocks specified. A complete 
Z80 Assembler rounds out the 
Utilities disk. 



Blocks, Editor, and 
Assembler 

The basic storage unit of the 



168 



LANGUAGES 



Forth language is a block, made 
up of 1,024 characters (IK). 
Because a block fits perfectly on 
the screen, writing, editing and 
listing programs is a breeze. 

Information is transferred in 
one-block units from disk to 
block buffers in RAM. Access to 
disk blocks is almost as easy as 
accessing RAM (either directly or 
under program control). With 
four drives you have the 
equivalent of more than 250K of 
virtual memory and more than 
BOOK on the Model III. Files are 
created within blocks by 
calculating the offset from the 
first byte of the block to where a 
particular record is written 
within the block. 

The editor is easy to use; I 
wish I had its range of com- 
mands in a word processor. In 
edit mode you can: insert or 
delete characters or lines; lock 
into insert mode; truncate to end 
of line; copy lines; treat the block 
as a continuous page of 1,024 
characters; and use the arrow 
keys to position the cursor 
anywhere on the screen. 

The editor can also be used on 
non-Forth disks as a Superzap- 
type program, with direct visual 
access to any byte on a disk. 

It is easy to include 8080 
assembler code in a program us- 
ing the MMSFORTH word Code 
to start the sequence and either 
Next, PSH, or PSH2 to return 
(passing nothing, HL, or DE and 
HL to the user stack). The 8080 
assembler is incomplete, but 
MMSFORTH words like CMOVE 
(which moves a series of bytes 
from one memory location to 
another) render some assembler 
functions unnecessary. Control 
structures and word order for 
the assembler follow Forth con- 
ventions. 



Data Types and Functions 

You can handle data in 
MMSFORTH by character, 
single, double, and triple preci- 
sion integers, single and double 
precision floating point, and 
complex numbers. 

Quite unlike Basic, which is 
limited to the 8-bit PEEK and 
POKE commands, MMSFORTH 
lets you store and read from 
8-bit characters to 64-bit com- 
plex numbers as units. 

Strings are a maximum of 255 
bytes long (the first byte is the 
length). String functions are a 
superset of Disk Basic string 
functions. Unlike Microsoft 
Basic, there are no string 
pointers, making it easier to 
directly access and change 
strings in memory. 

Constants, variables, and ar- 
rays can be defined for any data 
type, including strings. A con- 
stant's name evokes its value; a 
variable's name evokes its 
memory address. 

You can write complex pro- 
grams in Forth without one 
variable or constant. Forth uses 
a stack (a set of memory loca- 
tions) to hold values and pass 
them from word to word. Pass- 
ing numbers from one word to 
another is as simple as leaving 
the results of one calculation on 
the stack for the next word to 
pick up. 

To use a last-in-first-out (LIFO) 
stack with its semi-automatic 
management of numbers, you 
cannot use ordinary algebraic 
notation, with its parentheses 
and equals signs. Instead, you 
use a more efficient notation call 
Reverse Polish Notation (RPN). 

Conclusion 
MMSFORTH is a complete ver- 



169 



SOFTWARE 



sion of the Forth language (a 
superset of the Forth 79 Stan- 
dard) and makes the TRS-80 a 
very powerful tool for developing 
programs. You can build a 
powerful set of subroutines, and 
build on your previous work 
with an ease unknown to Basic. 
(Miller Microcomputer Services, 
61 Lakeshore Road, Natick, MA 
01 760; $89.95 cassette, $129.95 
disk.) 

Nicholas Spies 
June/ July 1982 



Model II Compiler Basic 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model II 

To use Radio Shack's Model II 
Compiler Basic, I knew I would 
have to modify my existing pro- 
grams. Radio Shack had in- 
dicated that the new language 
differs from Interpretive Basic, 
and suggested it is primarily 
suitable for new-application 
development. 

To achieve higher perfor- 
mance, I expected that the com- 
piler language would require 
some additional specification. 
But, I was utterly unprepared for 
what I encountered: gratuitous 
changes for the sake of change, 
callous disregard for human fac- 
tors, and woefully disappointing 
performance. 

In the compiler Basic, pro- 
grams are written and debugged 
using the Development System. 
This is a complete environment 
that closely resembles inter- 
pretive Basic— you can write, 
save, execute, and modify pro- 
grams without returning to 
TRSDOS. A stand-alone editor. 
BEdit, allows more powerful 
editing operations, and a stand- 



alone run-time package executes 
previously compiled programs. 

The editing commands in the 
Development System are annoy- 
ingly different from the familiar 
Edit command of interpretive 
Basic. In fact, there is no Edit 
command; its function is per- 
formed by Change, which is bet- 
ter suited to global changes than 
to intra-line corrections. The 
BEdit program uses another 
scheme. This makes it incredibly 
difficult to switch from the 
Development editor to BEdit. 

If you have existing programs 
in interpretive Basic, forget try- 
ing to use them as a starting 
point. The file format used for 
storing source programs by 
Compiler Basic is different from 
either of the formats used by in- 
terpretive Basic. 

The compiler supports only 
two types of numeric data, in- 
teger and real. Integers occupy 2 
bytes and perform as in inter- 
pretive Basic. Reals, on the other 
hand, are stored in floating 
packed decimal and occupy 8 
bytes each. 

Strings have maximum and 
current lengths. Unlike inter- 
pretive Basic, strings always re- 
quire enough storage to hold 
their maximum length. This 
avoids the interpreter's string- 
compaction delays, but it might 
prevent programs with large 
string arrays from fitting into 
memory. 

Some of the differences seem 
pointless. Their primary effect is 
to frustrate users who are ac- 
customed to interpretive Basic. 
Among these are: Load will load 
only an object file, not a source 
file— you must use Old for source 
files. 

In debugging a program, you 
cannot use Print <var> to see its 



170 



LANGUAGES 



value; you must display <var> 
or DI <var>. The end statement 
marks the end of compilation, 
not the end of execution. And 
the INSTR function has been 
relabeled POS and accepts only 
the two-argument form. 

These few examples indicate 
the nature of the changes. If the 
compiler were to be used in a 
vacuum, the choice of syntax 
wouldn't matter. But every 
Model II is already supplied with 
interpretive Basic, and most 
potential users of Compiler Basic 
are probably already using it. 
These changes make life 
needlessly difficult. 

The file I/O are also markedly 
changed but with Justification. 
Compiler Basic provides a rich 
variety of I/O options, including 
fixed or variable-length records; 
sequential, direct, or indexed ac* 
cess; and stream, formatted, or 
binary formats. However, most 
of the interesting combinations 
seem to waste an inordinate 
amount of space. 

Perhaps the most welcome 
feature of Compiler Basic is that 
it allows true subprograms, 
which can be called by name 
and passed arguments. Except 
where declared as Common or 
as formal parameters, the 
variables in the subprogram 
have nothing to do with those in 
the calling program. 

A close reading of the manual 
reveals that Compiler Basic is 
not a true compiler. It does not 
convert source programs into 
machine code, but into an in- 
termediate pseudocode, which 
must be interpreted at run time. 
The pseudocode is more com- 
pact than tine object code 
would be. 

Subprograms can be compiled 
either separately or in conjunc- 



tion with the main program. If 
they are compiled separately, 
they can be loaded together 
before beginning execution, but 
the result of the execution can't 
be saved. The pseudocode can- 
not be linked with true object 
modules. 

The inability to combine in- 
dependently compiled modules 
into a single executable whole 
makes the concept of separate 
compilation virtually useless. 

The program chaining facility 
is a mild improvement over 
what's available in interpretive 
Basic. It allows you to save the 
contents of certain variables us- 
ing Common, where they can be 
retrieved by programs later in 
the chain. 

Compiler Basic doesn't let you 
combine modules that were 
compiled sepai'ately, and you 
can't compile a big collection of 
modules at once. But. chaining 
is available. 

I wrote a small program to 
compare the speed of inter- 
pretive and Compiler Basic. I 
was amazed by the relative per- 
formance of the two systems: In- 
terpretive Basic took 13 seconds: 
Compiler Basic took 22 seconds 
(plus 14 seconds compilation). 

Where I expected at least a 
threefold improvement in perfor- 
mance, I received a degradation 
of about 70 percent. Either 
Microsoft does things fully well, 
or the authors of Compiler Basic 
are doing something terribly 
wrong! 

I have never bought a program 
with such high expectataions 
and wound up feeling so totally 
ripped off It is inconceivable to 
me that a compiled program— or 
even a partially compiled 
one— can perform so poorly. 

I am equally appalled by the 



171 



SOFTWARE 



unnecessary incompatibilities 
between this and the standard 
version of Basic for the Model 11. 
It shows an utter lack of concern 
for the people who will in- 
evitably use both. 

If the compiler is intended for 
developing applications pro- 
grams, the authors should 
recognize that program linkage 
is a necessity, and that disk 
space might be a precious 
resource. 

After my first experience with 
the compiler, I put it on the shelf 
and dismissed it as useless. 
Several months later, I brought 
it back for another try, hoping I 
had missed something crucial. It 
appears that I hadn't. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $199.) 

Larry Clark 
February 1982 

"^ ■^ "^ 

Pascal I and II 
Computer Information 
Exchange Inc. 
Model I 

Although People's Pascal I and 
People's Pascal II are subsets of 
full Pascal, there's enough to be 
interesting, fun, and perhaps 
even useful. 

Depending on line length, the 
editor/compiler for PascS I can 
handle 50 to 200 lines of Pascal 
source text at a time. Larger files 
can be created, edited, and com- 
piled by saving portions of the 
large file on tape as the text buf- 
fer is filled. The compiler is set 
up for use with one cassette 
recorder, but it can be easily 
modified to work with two. All 
actions required of the user are 
prompted. Compiler options in- 
clude output to line printer and 



compilation without generation 
of an object file. 

Once the compiled P-code is 
on tape, it can be either trans- 
lated into Z80 code or executed 
via the interpreter, which, like 
the editor/compiler and the 
translator, is written in Basic. 
Commands are provided for con- 
trolling and analyzing program 
execution. During conversion, 
the P-codes and corresponding 
Z80 codes will be optionally 
listed on the video monitor 
and/or the printer. At the end of 
translation, the start and end ad- 
dresses of the Z80 code and the 
Z80/P-code ratio are displayed. 
One nice feature of the translator 
is that conversion can be cus- 
tomized for speed or for size. 

Several nin-time routines, 
such as keyboard scanning, 
video output, and 16-bit 
arithmetic routines, have been 
included by the authors of Peo- 
ple's Pascal I. They are written 
in Assembly language for easy 
modification, and you can load 
them from tape via the Level II 
System command. 

People's Pascal II consists of 
three sections: the Monitor, 
which includes the run-time 
routines and P-code interpreterr 
the editor, which is used to enter 
and modify Tiny Pascal source 
code; and the compiler, which 
creates P-code from source. The 
three are loaded and used as one 
program via the Level II System 
command, making Pascal II 
quicker and easier to use. 

Tiny Pascal's greatest limita- 
tion is that it handles only two 
date types: integers and one- 
dimensional integer arrays. 
However, these constraints can 
be overcome. Valid Tiny Pascal 
statements include: assignment 
of variables and constants; defi- 



m mm, 



LANGUAGES 



nition of procedures arid func- 
tions; conditionals; repetitives; 
Read; Write; compound 
statements of any of the above. 
Not provided are label definition, 
GOTO, READLN, and 
WRITELN. Procedure and func- 
tion parameters are passed only 
by value. There is no record of 
file-handling capability. Addi- 
tional features access memory, 
use machine-language code, and 
allow hexadecimal constants, 
"else" branches on Case 
statements, logical operations 
and printing of character strings. 
Pascal offers greater versatility 
than Pascal II when creating 
source code, but it requires the 
loading of at least three fairly 
long programs from cassette and 
runs slowly. Because the PEEKs 
and POKES conflict with DOS 
Basic, it can't be put on disk as 
Pascal II can. Each system has 
particular functions and differs 
in its final products, but each 
one is definitely worth trying. 
Although Tiny Pascal probably 
won't displace Basic as your 80's 
native language, it might satisfy 
your appetite for something new 
and prepare you for that Big 
Pascal yet to come. 
(Pascal I and II, once sold by 
Computer Information Ex- 
change Inc., San Luis Rey, CA 
92068, are no longer available.) 
Fred Monsour 
May 1980 



Pascal-80 

New Classics Software 

Model I and III 

Pascal-80 is not "just another 
compiler" but an honest attempt 
to provide TRS-80 users with a 
meaningful implementation of 



this language. It is a monitor 
system that provides an inter- 
face to the disk-file structure, a 
text editor, the Pascal compiler, 
and the Pascal interpreter. The 
system comes on a TDOS sys- 
tem disk in single-density, 
35-track format for Model I 
users. 

Users are not limited to this 
operating system; they can use 
Pascal-80 with any of the 
second-generation operating 
systems, such as NEWDOS80. 

The System is easy to operate. 
Pascal-80 functions are available 
from the monitor, making it easy 
to save and load files, compile, 
execute, and edit source text. 

The compiler/editor system 
uses an in-memory text buffer 
with 32K of memory space that 
holds about 1,100 lines of code. 
This can be increased with the 
use of text-compression tech- 
niques. 

The in-memory compile 
feature accounts for the com- 
piler's incredible speed. Wtien 
timed on a Model I running at 
standard speed (1.77 MHz), I got 
compile rates averaging 1,000 
lines per minute when listing to 
the video screen and 1,500 lines 
per minute using the NOLIST 
option. 

The system has some nice 
features available from the 
monitor: The W command lets 
you write the compiled P-code to 
disk in a named file, and the X 
command lets you execute this 
compiled code directly from the 
disk. This allows you to compile 
lengthy programs once in the 
final version and then run them 
directly without compilation 
delays. 

Pascal-80 has a full-screen 
editor that you can invoke from 
the monitor. Text displays on 



173 



SOFTWARE 



the video screen in a moving 
window of 15-line groups, 

The editor uses a blinking 
underline character that moves 
by pressing the arrow keys. 
Unlike many text editors, each 
line is a separate entity and can't 
be extended past 64 characters. 
The text lines are stored in the 
text workspace only after press- 
ing enter. This includes up- 
dating any changes made to the 
line after it is originally typed. 
The editor command menu 



Z II z 
1-3 IS t-3 

^•^ SI 
tfl 03 03 

U) Z to 
O O (S (S 

^ a o\ s 
II W ® CO 
'a sj O O 
^ OCdO 
> W f W 
Z M CO td 




C5« 

A 3 



50 « 



Z M 




gives a listing of the commands 
for editing the source program. 

The compiler generates a 
pseudo-code output in a one- 
pass compilation process. The 
P-code must be interpreted in 
order to be meaningful. The con- 
cept is based on compilers being 
able to operate on different 
machines and produce code that 
was transportable from one in- 
stallation to the next. The P-code 
generated by Pascal-80 is not 
true P-code, but a compressed 
output requiring less space. 

There are six compiler options 
to divert compiler output from 



the video screen to the line 
printer and to control informa- 
tion regarding the stack space, 
symbol table space, and actual 
code generated. The compiler 
output can be suppressed except 
for error messages. Two options 
allow all variables to be preset to 
zero upon allocation and per- 
form a verify operation after disk 
file writes. 

The compiler implements a 
TRS-80 version of the standard 
Pascal with some limitations and 
extensions. The reference 
manual with Pascal-80 does not 
describe the Pascal language 
and I suggest that you buy Pro- 
gramming in Pascal by Peter 
Grogono. 

Many extensions have been 
added to this newer version of 
Pascal-80 including the follow- 
ing: Arrays of characters can be 
printed with a single statement, 
the Read and Write procedures 
can be used with nontext files in 
place of the Get and Put pro- 
cedures, PROG and Func are ab- 
breviations for the keywords pro- 
cedure and function, predefined 
constants, real variables have 14 
digits of precision and occupy 8 
bytes, and no files need be 
declared in the program header. 

The following procedures have 
been added to the standard 
Pascal procedures/functions: 
Close— close disk files, 
CLS— clears the screen, EX— a 
type integer function that 
returns the exponent value of 
the real-expression, FP— a type 
real function that returns the 
mantissa of the real-expression 
as its function value, INKEY— a 
function returning the CHAR for- 
mat, MEM, PEEK (address), 
POKE (address, value), and Seek, 
which positions the specified file 
name to the record in the file 






LANGUAGES 



pointed to by the integer value of 
expression. 

A compile-time function is 
recognized to let you include 
source code from a disk file in 
the program currently being 
compiled. This is a powerful ad- 
dition to the original Pascal-80. 

Both integer and real values 
are displayed using the same for- 
mat description. A field width of 
zero produces a display in the 
default format for the displayed 
expression type. Similarly, a 
field width of - 1 produces the 
display of the expression in 
scientific notation. 

Pascal-80 provides an addi- 
tional source-code procedure 
(GOTOXY) on disk to let you 
position the video system cursor 
to any screen location. The call 
GOTOXY specifies the cursor's 
location. 

The Pascal-80 master disk 
contains the compiler system 
and several other files. These 
files contain the Pascal source 
code for graphics, random- 
number, and GOTOXY linkages, 
plus several demonstration 
Pascal programs. Each program 
is designed to illustrate a feature 
of the Pascal language. 

In addition to the demonstra- 
tion programs, there are two 
utilities to convert Pascal-80 text 
files to ASCII character files 
(ASCII/CMD) and to convert from 
character format files to text for- 
mat (TEXT/CMD). The ASCII 
files can be used with almost 
any word processor. 

The two remaining files 
(AUTHOR/SRC and AUTH- 
CODE/CMD) let you write appli- 
cation programs in Pascal, com- 
pile them and use them as a 
CMD file that executes directly 
from the disk-operating system 
command level. New Classics 



Software grants a license to 
original registered owners of 
Pascal-80 to distribute programs 
compiled by Pascal-80, provided 
you meet the requirements 
specified in the user's manual. 
Pascal-80 is the first real at- 
tempt to provide a useful im- 
plementation of TRS-80 Pascal 
for a reasonable price. You 
should be using a Z80 compiler 
such as Fortran if speed is your 
major objective. But if ease in 
programming using this well- 
structured language is your ob- 
jective, then Pascal-80 is perfect, 
(New Classics Software, 239 
Fox Hill Road, Denville, NJ 
07834; $99, disk. Pascal-80 re- 
quires 48K and one disk drive.) 
J.B. Harrell, III 
December 1982 



-^ -^ •^ 

PL/I-80 

Digital Research 

Model I and III with CP/M 

Digital Research, the people 
who brought you CP/M, has 
compressed the huge, main- 
frame-oriented PL/I monster to 
fit into the world of the 8080. 

The package contains two 
disks, one contains the PL/I com- 
piler and supporting software, 
the other contains a generous 
collection of illustrative pro- 
grams. Also included are four 
volumes of documentation. 
Three of these manuals are for 
PL/I-80; the fourth describes the 
loader program, LINK-80. The 
PL/I manuals include a 108-page 
Language Manual, a 180-page 
Applications Guide, and a 
30-page Command Summary 
pamphlet. 

The language has a few exten- 
sions to the standard Subset G, 



175 



SOFTWARE 



and a few omissions. The most 
important extension is a badly- 
needed unformatted I/O mode 
for reading and writing variable- 
length ASCII records. PL/I-80 ac 
cepts source programs written 
with lowercase letters. I don't 
know why this trivial detail 
should make such a difference, 
but it does. I think it does more 
for program readability than in- 
denting; once you have seen one 
lowercase listing, you will want 
to convert your whole library. 

The documentation is con- 
scientious, but not entirely suc- 
cessful. The language features 
are scattered between the Lan- 
guage Manual and the Applica- 
tions Guide, and it is not entirely 
clear how they decide which 
things would go where. The 
manuals do not have an index. 

These manuals are not tu- 
torials, however; a separate leaf- 
let provides an annotated bibli- 
ography of recommended PL/I 
textbooks. The best introduction 
to PL/I-80 is the set of illustrative 
programs (60 of them) on the 
second disk. 

There are two licensing 
agreements, one noncommercial 
and one commercial. The non- 
commercial license gives you the 
right to do anything but sell ex- 
ecutable PL/I programs. Once 
you start selling those, you are a 
software vendor and are re- 
quired to sign the commercial 
licensing agreement, which in- 
cludes provision for royalty pay- 
ments to Digital Research. To 
sweeten the pot somewhat. 
Digital Research has announced 
an ambitious Independent Soft- 
ware Vendor (ISV) support pro- 
gram. Potential vendors should 
consider carefully the tradeoff 
between the royalty payments 
and the equivalent cash value of 



the ISV program. 

Omissions 

My major reservations concern 
the language itself. PL/I-80 omits 
the capability of dynamically 
dimensioning arrays by putting 
them inside a Begin . . . End 
block. Hence one of the main ad- 
vantages of PL/I's block- 
structure capability is wiped out. 
Blocks are still useful for con- 
trolling the scope of a variable 
(i.e., the portions of a program in 
which its identity is known), but 
I feel this is a minor benefit. 

The other omission is similar: 
Array dimensions in subroutines 
must be determined at compile 
time. This is a disastrous deci- 
sion, because it means no 
subroutine intended to process 
arrays or character strings can 
ever be truly general-purpose. 

An obscure feature of PL/I lets 
you get around this problem, 
within limits. PL/I has a data 
type known as a pointer. If you 
pass pointers to your 
subroutines, then, with a certain 
amount of ingenuity and care, 
you can con PL/I-80 into letting 
you handle arrays and strings of 
arbitrary size. I've tried it; it 
works; but it's tricky and you 
end up with programs unlike 
any PL/I programs normally en- 
countered in the outside world. 

I have a few other, less impor- 
tant, grumbles. Comments are 
delimited in PL/I by the symbols 
/* and */. In PL/C, a popular 
teaching version of PL/I, com- 
ments are also delimited by a 
carriage return. This means that 
if you forge or misprint a */ the 
end of the line will terminate 
your comment anyway. In full 
PL/I, a missing */ can turn the 
rest of your program into one big 
comment. This kind of easy error 



176 



LANGUAGES 



is not the mark of a well- 
designed language; Digital 
Research should have followed 
PL/C's policy, standard or no 
standard. 

My own feelings about PL/I-80 
are mixed. Like PL/I itself, it 
seems an uncomfortable mixture 
of unmatched capabilities and 
maddening drawbacks. It seems 
unrealistic to do any kind of 
serious business programming 
in any language but PL/I. The 
availability of PL/I on 
microprocessors is thus an in- 
credible boon. 

Many potential users are sure- 
ly going to be put off by the 
royalty requirements, which I 
predict will prevent widespread 
adoption of the language. But 
the inability to use adjustable 
dimensions in subroutines and 
blocks is going to cramp the 
style of many experienced PL/I 
programmers, and this may 
prove a more serious impedi- 
ment than the licensing prob- 
lem. For myself, these restric- 
tions make the language virtual- 
ly useless. As long as they re- 
main, I think PL/I will fare as 
poorly in the micro world as it 
has among mainframes — which 
is a shame, because we need a 
language like this. 
(Digital Research, P.O. Box 579, 
Pacific Grove, CA 93950: $500.) 
Thomas W. Parsons 
June/July 1982 



"^ "^ "^ 
Tiny Pascal 
Supersoft Inc. 
Model I and III 

I'd been interested in Pascal 
for some time, but all the com- 
pilers I'd seen required a disk 



drive or two and at least 32K of 
memory. Supersoft's Tiny Pascal 
needs only 16K and a cassette- 
equipped machine. 

The manual is not a primer on 
Pascal, so I bought one of the 
references recommended and 
began learning this new 
language. The syntax is simple, 
and before long I had written my 
first program. When I decided to 
list the program on my printer, I 
was disappointed: there was no 
provision for printing lists, or 
outputting to a line printer 
under program control. 

The system consists of four 
major parts: monitor, editor, 
compiler, and run time inter- 
preter. The monitor is in charge 
of overall system control: from it. 
you can enter the editor to 
create, modify, or compile source 
code and run the compiled pro- 
gram. Provisions are made for 
saving and loading source code 
or P-code on tape. 

The editor is adequate but 
doesn't compare with the Level 
II Basic editor. All or part of a 
program can be listed, lines in- 
serted or deleted, and additional 
characters appended to the end 
of a line. Correcting an error 
within a line requires retyping it 
completely. 

The compiler generates an in- 
termediate code called P-code, 
which is executed by an inter- 
preter at run time. 

This leaves the programmer 
with about 4.5K of memory for 
source and P-code. Normally the 
source code is entered and the 
P-code immediately follows it in 
memory when compiled, but for 
large programs there are some 
options available. The program- 
mer may choose to have the 
P-code replace the source code 



177 



SOFTWARE 



as it is compiled, allowing a full 
4.5K of source code, or overwrite 
the compiler and editor. For 
systems with at least 32K RAM, 
there is another version of the 
program on the tape which sup- 
ports much larger programs. 

Tiny Pascal only supports in- 
teger variables. Lack of real 
(floating point) and character 
(string) variables limits its 
usefulness. All major control 
structures of Pascal are sup- 
ported, including Begin . . . End, 
Repeat. . .Until, While. . .Do, 
If. . .Then. . .Else, For. . .Do, 
Case, Procedures, and Func- 
tions. Statements provide Read, 
Write, and integer arithmetic in 
decimal or hexadecimal, in- 
cluding one-dimensional arrays. 
Additional intrinsic functions in- 
clude memory access (the 
equivalent of PEEK and POKE), 
machine-language calls, I/O port 
access, absolute value, square, 
INKEY, graphics control similar 
to Basic, and block memory 
moves. Game programmers will 
be sorry to hear that there is no 
random number generator. 

While Level II Basic is still 
more practical for any applica- 
tion, Tiny Pascal offers a 
"shoestring" approach to learn- 
ing this structured language. 
(Supersoft Inc., P.O. Box 1628, 
Champaign, IL 61820. Tiny 
Pascal comes on cassette for the 
Model I and III for $20; A disk 
version for the Model I only is 
available for $85.) 

Curtis H. Kyle 
July 1981 



UOLISP 
(See Page 165) 



•^ -^ '^ -^ ^ 
XBasic 
Snappware 
Model II 

Snappware's advertisement 
promised "the best of Apparat's 
features in implementing 
NEWDOS Basic." After one 
phone call, one plastic cash 
number and three days, my disk 
arrived. To my amazement the 
software worked as good or bet- 
ter than the ad claimed. 

The first of XBasic's modules 
is designed to reduce the 
number of keystrokes that are 
required during programming or 
software modification. There are 
six single keystroke commands; 
the left arrow lists the first line 
of a program, the right arrow 
lists the last line of a program, 
the up arrow lists the previous 
line, the down arrow lists the 
next line, the period lists the cur- 
rent line, and the comma edits 
the current line. There are also 
10 abbreviations for commands. 

Listing and editing your pro- 
gram becomes a piece of cake if 
you need only type the left arrow, 
then type the right arrow while 
holding down the Repeat key. 
This causes the program to list 
until you release the Repeat key. 
Then type a comma and you are 
in the current line. That is much 
faster than typing LLIST (enter) 
then (Break) and edit (line 
number). 

The most valuable routine is 
XREF, Snapp's cross reference 
facility. This utility is similar to 
Apparat's in that you may list 
references to the screen and 
printer and list references to line 
numbers or integer constants 
and variables. But XREF places 
an asterisk in front of any line 
number not an Integer constant, 



lONITORS 



It also places an asterisk before 
line numbers during the variable 
listing if the variable is modified 
in that line. 

The enhanced renumbering 
facility corrects some problems 
with Radio Shack's Renumber 
and allows you to specify an up- 
per limit on a block of lines that 
are to be renumbered. It also 
allows you to scan the text for 
renumbering errors such as 
undefined line numbers or other 
errors in the text, after which the 
text numbering remains un- 
changed. XRENUM also permits 
a block of text to be duplicated 
in another area of the program 
without destroying the original 
text or its renumbering. 

Beyond NEWDOS utilities for 
the Model I, Snapp offers the 
Model II user XDUMP, a dy- 
namic variable-print facility. 
This facility prints the current 
value or all variables on the 
screen or printer. 

XBasic also includes the string/ 
key word cross-reference facility 
called XFind. This facility dis- 
plays the line numbers where 
key words would appear. This is 
indispensible for converting from 
one Basic to another. XFind dis- 
plays all line numbers that refer- 
ence any string or portion of a 
string which you select. This is 
very handy for reducing space 
required for quoted strings that 
are used more than once. 

Finally, XBasic offers XCom- 
press which reduces your pro- 
gram size to an absolute 
minimum. This is accomplished 
in several phases, most of which 
may be optionally selected. 
Some of these phases are: 
removal of remarks, removal of 
irrelevent blanks, removal of ir- 
relevent tab characters, removal 
of extraneous colons, removal of 



GOTO following a Then, merg- 
ing of multiple statements into 
single lines, and several others. 

The previously discussed 
utilities are well worth the price, 
but Snapp Inc. chooses to add at 
no charge their DOSFIX, a set of 
repairs to the Model II disk 
operating system. These include 
both the official Fort Worth and 
Snapp originals. 

The first 16 remove unneces- 
sary files from the operating 
system, and junk like SYSL/SYS 
which only prints the logo on the 
screen during the power-up se- 
quence. Another patch moves 
the Break key to CTRL 6. The 
last DOS fix has stopped my 
cussing upon power up or reset 
when the Forms command in- 
itializes the printer and the 
computer issues two line feeds, 
destroying my top-of-form 
alignment. 

Thanks to Snapp XBasic and 
their DOSFIX, my Model II 
no longer seems to fight my 
every move. 

(Snappware Inc., 3719 Mantell. 
Cincinnati, OH 45236; $200 
Model 11, $125 Model III) 

Rick Lederman 
September 1981 



■MONITORS" 



■^ ^ ^ ^ 

Boss 

Soft Sector Marketing Inc. 

Model I and III 

Boss, a utility program for the 
TRS-80, has several features 
useful in writing and debugging 
B^ic programs. They are: im- 



179 



SOFTWARE 



proved trace capability, single 
stepping through programs, 
reviewing variables, stacking 
programs, setting breakpoints, 
and complete relocation of the 
utility itself. 

The program comes on cas- 
sette along with a separate 
lowercase driver (if you have the 
modification) and manual. It 
may be loaded into memory, 
relocated and saved on tape 
or disk. 

Generally, when using Boss, 
you don't need to worry about it 
interfering with other machine- 
language programs in memory. 
When it loads, it will prompt you 
for the lowest address you wish 
to protect, and relocate itself 
beneath that address. It also 
gives you the proper response to 
the memory size question. 

If you have ever tried to use 
the Level II Trace function, you 
know that it is hard to follow 
and destroys the display. Boss 
displays the Trace only in four 
rows in the right-hand corner. A 
right arrow moves to the row 
containing the executing line 
number. If the line is multi- 
statement, the number is 
displayed only once during the 
execution of that line. 

Boss is one of the most power- 
ful tools I can use. It allows me 
to single step through the 
routines in the program and 
review just what the variables 
are doing. Single step functions 
can be used in conjunction with 
Trace functions; POKE 16667,5 
lets you insert as many break- 
points in the program as you like. 

You can include most of the 
Boss commands as POKE state- 
ments, so that your program will 
run normally until it reaches 
these commands, whereupon 
the Boss functions called for (for 



example, single stepping) will 
begin. Thus you needn't worry 
about doing everything in Com- 
mand mode. 

You can stack Basic programs 
in memory and PUSH and POP 
them around as you like, 
limited, of course, by available 
RAM. Memory size is adjusted 
automatically, so that programs 
won't get eaten by Basic 
variables and stack usage. If line 
sequence is correct, you can ap- 
pend programs, the current pro- 
gram with either the last or next- 
to-last saved program— not par- 
ticularly useful with a disk 
system and the ability to merge 
programs, but handy for Level II 
users. DOS users should be 
aware that reboots are an in- 
convenience here, as BASIC* 
will not recover the utility. 

In conclusion, this utility is a 
powerful debugging tool, and 
very useful for anyone who 
would like to spend some time 
away from program debugging. 
(Soft Sector Marketing Inc., P.O. 
Box 340, Garden aty, MI 48135; 
$29.95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
July 1981 

"^ "^ "^ '^ 

C-Bug 

The Micro Works 

Color Computer 

The Micro Works is offering 
two outstanding utility programs 
for the TRS-80 Color Computer. 
They allow access to the 
machine at the Assembly level. 

The monitor is a powerful 
6809 monitor and is available on 
cassette. The two versions are 
virtually identical, except that 
the ROM version mounts into a 
Radio Shack ROM pack, allow- 
ing instant access. The docu- 



180 



MONITORS 



mentation is complete, and in- 
cludes loading, running, and 
operating instructions. Also in- 
cluded is a documented Assem- 
bly listing of the C-Bug monitor. 

There are 19 commands that 
include the following: Memory- 
examine and change, convert 
hex to decimal, Upload/Down- 
load to send and receive data 
from the communication link, 
and an Auto mode that allows 
you to use your computer as an 
intelligent terminal connected to 
a host system. These commands 
are completely documented in 
the manual, with examples of 
their use. 

The disassembler is a program 
that will allow you to look into 
the Basic ROM, and is available 
on cassette requiring 16K of 
RAM to run. The program is well 
documented, and includes the 
following features: cross-ref- 
erencing of variables and labels, 
output code that can be re- 
assembled, output to an 80- or 
32-column printer, and a data 
table area specification which 
defaults to the table bound- 
aries in the interpreter ROM, 
and more. 

Both programs are highly 
recommended. 
(The Micro Works, P.O. Box 
1110, Del Mar, CA 92014; 
Monitor Tape $29.95, Monitor 
ROM $39.95, Disassembler 
$49.95.) 

Howard Berenbon 
September 1981 

•^ -^ ^ 1/2 

Cocobug Debugging Monitor 
Allen Gelder Software 
Color Computer 

Typical of software by Allen 
Gelder, Cocobug is oriented 



towards machine-code program- 
mers. This is an approach I find 
very appealing, because 
Assembly programs can easily 
obscure the real binary opera- 
tions which the microprocessor 
is undertaking. 

Cocobug consists of two parts, 
a Basic menu/prompting pro- 
gram, and a machine-code 
subroutine for display of 
memory and execution and 
breakpointing of the user's pro- 
gram. After a very brief CLOAD 
and CLOADM the program is 
run. A cursor appears at the top 
of the screen waiting for a user 
directive. 

Memory display options are M 
and N, followed by a hexadec- 
imal address. The M command 
displays the contents of 1 12 
bytes, 14 lines of eight rows of 
hex bytes. Fifty-six bytes in hex 
and ASCII are displayed under 
the N command. The small 
number of bytes displayable on 
the screen is a function of the 
Color Computer's 32-character 
lines. However, the screen may 
be scrolled up or down 8 bytes, 
or moved a single byte ahead 
or back. 

Most interesting are the pro- 
gramming models included in 
Cocobug. All the registers are 
displayed, as well as the top of 
the two stacks and the condition 
code register. Under Cocobug's 
R command, two programming 
models are displayed: The first is 
the entry condition (before 
execution of the user's code), 
and the second is the exit condi- 
tion (after a breakpoint). This 
display is disabled with the 
T-command. 

Rumors of monitor programs 
as good or better than Cocobug 
are already being heard, but soft- 
ware from Allen Gelder is 



181 



SOFTWARE 



unique. Like Accel, Cocobug is 
provided with complete instruc- 
tions on where it resides in 
memory, what RAM patch 
points it uses, and how to make 
backup copies. Furthermore. 
Cocobug is fully supported by 
the author, and is the first in a 
group of modules that will in- 
clude an assembler and other 
tools. Cocobug alone, however, is 
a capable and attractive program 
at a very reasonable price. 
(Allen Gelder Software, Box 
1 1 721 Main Post Office, San 
Francisco, CA 94101; $19.95.) 

Dennis Bathory Kitsz 
September 1981 

-^ -^ -^ -^ 

Macro-Mon— The Shadow 
Advanced Operating Systems 
Model I or III 

An absolute must for every 
Assembly-language program- 
mer, beginner or professional, is 
a good program monitor. A 
monitor combining unique com- 
mands and ease of use is an ex- 
ceptional programming aid. 

Macro-Mon, while using com- 
mands similar to most monitors, 
adds commands allowing single 
instruction, interpretive opera- 
tion, and complete, dynamic 
register display to video and 
printer. While executing one in- 
stniction, it displays the 
disassembly of the next instruc- 
tion to be printed. The 
disassembly can be printed as 
the program is interpreted, pro- 
viding a running printout of the 
registers along with the 
disassembled instructions. 

I received the 16K Model I ver- 
sion and, although I have a 48K 
disk system, the monitor 
operated immediately. The first 



thing I did was relocate Macro- 
Mon (it is completely relocatable) 
to upper memory, preventing 
any conflict with the disk 
operating system. My next step 
was to use Macro-Mon to save 
itself to disk. (Macro-Mon con- 
tains both disk and tape routines 
built in.) The monitor comes on 
a minimum-version DOSPLUS 
disk; I tested it with TRSDOS 
and NEWDOS80 versions 1.0 
and 2.0 and found no problems 
at all. 

Macro-Mon comes in one of the 
most professional-looking 
packages I have seen. The 
manual is divided into sections 
allowing for easy learning and 
includes a sample session that 
traces Level 11 Basic and works 
with either tape or disk. 

The documentation gives only 
the information needed to use 
Macro-Mon and does not tutor 
the beginner in Assembly 
language or the terms used. A 
novice will need a source of basic 
information on Assembly to ef- 
fectively use Macro-Mon. This 
point is not a drawback; the last 
thing a beginner needs is a long- 
winded, obscure manual that at- 
tempts to do more than explain 
the proper operation of the 
monitor. 

One of Macro-Mon's outstand- 
ing features is its video display. 
The display has single-keystroke 
selection, for hex or ASCII 
representation, in each of two 
modes. The first is the register 
display mode which displays all 
registers and updates them as 
the monitor is used to trace or 
debug a program. The bottom 
four lines show 64 bytes of mem- 
ory that can be selected by the 
user. These lines can be scrolled 
forward or backward by use of 
the arrow keys without affect- 



182 



MONITORS 



ing the upper part of the display, 
The upper right of the screen 
shows the start and end hex ad- 
dresses of Macro-Mon. This is 
helpful in avoiding mon- 
itor/object program clash; it ui> 
dates automatically when the 
monitor is relocated. 

The most powerful feature in 
LDOS is the System (SYSGEN) 
command. This command 
causes all your system con- 
figuration, drivers, filters, 
routing, linking, and so on, as 
well as Spooler, Verify, and 
Clock, to be written to a file 
called CONFIG/SYS on drive 0. 
Each time the system is booted, 
it loads the user's configuration 
from this file. All system 
changes are made first in 
memory and do not become per- 
manent until you execute a 
SYSGEN. This lets you experi- 
ment with different configura- 
tions without making a special 
System disk. 

The LCOMM utility is an ad- 
vanced communications 
package for use with the RS-232, 
Because it is so flexible (you can 
even use it to communicate 
directly with your printer, 
though not very well), it is dif- 
ficult to learn; sit down with the 
documentation for at least half 
an hour and save yourself a lot 
of on-line frustration. The patch 
utility allows changes to the 
system or to other files. 

The repair utility brings disks 
created on certain other systems 
up to LDOS standards. It up- 
dates TRSIX)S's data address 
mark to an F8H instead of the 
FAH, making single-density 
disks directly usable on the 
Model III with LDOS. In fact, if 
your Model I is double density, 
you can switch disks back and 
forth between models without 



even knowing what density the 
disk is! It also performs addi- 
tional correction on the disk to 
ensure reliable operation. The 
HITAPE utility permits the use 
of high-speed cassette I/O on a 
Model III. 

Although I have extolled the 
excellence of Macro-Mon, I should 
point out a couple of shortcom- 
ings. I prefer a disassembler that 
prints the ASCII codes for all 
values encountered during the 
disassembly; Macro-Mon does 
print out ASCII equivalents in 
some cases, but not for every 
hex code. Also, while Macro- 
Mon's symbolic output can be 
directed to disk, certain 
qualifications must be met first. 
The DOS used is what makes 
the difference. Macro-Mon does 
not have the facility for a 
symbolic dump of object code 
to tape. 

For the programmer just start- 
ing out, or for the programmer 
looking for a better monitor, you 
can't beat Macro-Mon. Two 
minor conveniences are sacri- 
ficed, but in return you get 
much more valuable features 
that can't be found elsewhere. 
(Advanced Operating Systems. 
450 St. John Road, Suite 792, 
Michigan City, IN 46360; $54.95 
Model I cassette, $59.95 Model I 
disk, $69.95 Model HI disk.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
September 1982 



■^ ^ ^ 
MON-2 

Hubert S. Howe 
Model I 

MON-2 is an Assembly- 
language monitor with a built-in 
Z80 disassembler that satisfies 
most of an Assembly-language 



183 



SOFTWARE 



programmer's needs. It has good 
documentation, works well, and 
is easy to understand and use. 

A memory block of any size 
can be displayed in either ASCII 
or hex; locations can be 
changed, and programs ex- 
ecuted. Find Byte and Find 
Word features permit memory 
searches for a match. 

MON-2 is an effective 
disassembler, but if it included 
an assembler that wrote object 
tapes that could be read with the 
System command, it would be 
perfect. 

(Hubert S. Howe, 14 Lexington 
Rood, New City, NY 10956. 
MON-2 is now MON-3 on 
cassette, $39.95; MON-4 and 5 
on disk, $49.95 and $59.95 
respectively.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 



■^ "^ "^ "^ 

Power Pack and Color 

Diagnostics, £ditor and 

Assembler 

Computerware 

Color Computer 

Although Color Computer 
owners can be perfectly happy 
programming in Basic, eventual- 
ly the time will come to experi- 
ment with machine language. 
To do so, however, you need a 
monitor, editor, and assembler. 

The Computerware system in- 
cludes both hardware and soft- 
ware elements for the 16K ver- 
sion. Owners of 32K machines or 
disk systems need different ver- 
sions. (More about this later.) 

The heart of the system is its 
hardware component: a plug-in 
cartridge called the Power Pack, 



containing a monitor program in 
2K of ROM plus another 6K of 
static RAM (27 16s and 21 14s, 
respectively). 

The cartridge fits into the Col- 
or Computer's expansion ROM 
port. Since the machine scans 
this port immediately when 
turned on, it "wakes up" in the 
monitor instead of in Basic. 

The Power Pack features com- 
mands that return you to Basic 
immediately so it can be left 
plugged in all the time. Both 
ROM and RAM in the pack oc- 
cupy locations out of the range 
normally addressed by Basic: 
ROM, $C000-$C7FF (49152- 
51199 decimal); RAM, 
$D000-$E7FF (53248-59391 
decimal). RAM is available to 
Basic programs via POKE and 
PEEK commands and can also 
be used to hold protected 
machine-language programs if 
the proper loading address or off- 
set is given. That is exactly what 
is done with the Color Editor. 

Like all monitors, this tool lets 
you examine and change mem- 
ory. This, augmented with ad- 
ditional commands, allows the 
Color Monitor to: have direct ac- 
cess to the 6809's registers, save 
and load binary cassette files, 
use the RS-232 port to com- 
municate with another terminal 
or with a printer in an echo 
mode, and debug software by 
setting breakpoints for program 
execution. 

Color Monitor commands con- 
sist of a single alphabetic 
character, followed by one or 
more hex arguments. With these 
commands you can enter your 
own hand-assembled machine- 
language programs or published 
programs. In the latter case, you 
would use the bytes in the sec- 
ond column of a standard 



io4 



MONITORS 



Assembly-language program list- 
ing. This is not the way to enter 
lengthy programs, though. For 
those, use the Editor/ Assembler. 

The manual offers a few 
goodies, such as a table of in- 
direct addresses through which 
various Monitor routines can be 
accessed. Presumably, these 
could even be called from Basic 
via the DEFUSR and USR(N) 
commands. 

The Color Diagnostics pro- 
gram is provided as a binary 
cassette file, loading and auto- 
executing through the Monitor's 
L command. It is stored in low 
Power Pack RAM; you can 
reenter it from the Monitor by 
entering J DOOO, as long as the 
pertinent memory has not been 
written over. 

The diagnostics are organized 
around a set of nested menus. 
You needn't perform the tests in 
any specific order, and there are 
plenty of quit options allowing 
you to exit whenever you please. 

The major tests are for: power 
pack, RAM, RS-232, joysticks, 
Basic ROMs, tape I/O, and 
sound. 

The Color Editor provides 
powerful commands for manag- 
ing text: Assembly-language 
source code, Basic, or English. 
The program searches for and 
changes strings of characters in 
one or many lines of text, and 
moves lines of text within a file, 
meaning it serves as an elemen- 
tary word processor, as well. You 
cannot, however, run programs 
directly from the Editor. 

The Editor's command suite 
comprises a total of 36 com- 
mands grouped into: line display 
and movement; line modification 
and replacement; pattern 
modification and replacement 
(for editing strings within a line); 



and cassette commands. There 
are also some miscellaneous 
commands, such as those used 
to clear the text area, renumber 
lines of text, turn off the line 
numbers for printing, and exit to 
Basic or the Color Monitor. 

All cassette files are in ASCII 
form, and the Editor chains files 
read in succession— no need for 
the POKES and PEEKs used to 
chain standard tokenized Basic 
files. 

The final component of the 
Computerware Tool Kit is a resi- 
dent two-pass assembler for the 
conversion of 6809 Assembly- 
language programs into machine 
language. It loads with the 
Monitor's L command, and oc- 
cupies about 8K of 
RAM— specifically, from $0600 
to $2600. Fully 139 Motorola- 
defined mnemonics are sup- 
ported, as are several directives 
and pseudo-ops. 

The manu^, 18 pages plus ap- 
pendices, presents complete syn- 
tax listings for both directives 
and pseudo-ops. 

The necessity of making a tape 
of the machine code before run- 
ning (the inability to assemble 
directly to memory) is the result 
of a conscious choice by the pro- 
gram's authors stemming from 
their desire to permit the 
Assembly-language programmer 
the maximum freedom in 
locating a program in memory. 

This utility forces you to deal 
with the "tjranny of Modes." 
You must get used to flipping 
back and forth between, say, the 
Monitor and the input and com- 
mand modes of the editor. This 
can be especially daunting to the 
inexperienced user. It shouldn't 
dampen anyone's enthusiasm 
for these programs, though. 

In the same vein, the manuals 



185 



SOFTWARE 



can be cumbersome. You'll have 
to get used to Juggling several 
computer manuals on your knee 
while working out a problem. 

There are cassette versions of 
the Monitor, Editor and 
Assembler that run in 32K 
machines without the Power 
Pack. They cost $29.95 each, in' 
eluding the Monitor source 
listing ($15 separately). In fact, 
you can also buy a combined 
32K Editor/ Assembler package 
for $49.95. This makes the Com- 
puterware products much more 
competitive. The Diagnostics 
package isn't available in a 32K 
version, 

Computerware allows owners 
of 16K Power Pack versions to 
return their Editor/ Assembler 
cassette and receive an upgrade 
to run in 32K for a modest fee. 
In the 32K Power Pack con- 
figuration, you can have the 
Editor and Assembler resident 
simultaneously. 
(Computerware, P.O. Box 668, 
Encinitas, CA 92024; $159.95, 
16K required.) 

Scott L. Norman 
June/July 1982 



**** 
RSM-2 Monitor 
Small Systems Software 
Model I 

The Small Systems Software 
RSM-2/2D has more than the 
usual monitor functions of in- 
spect and change, cassette 
read/write. Jump and execute, 
breakpoints, and the like. RSM-2 
is designed to operate with the 
Level II, 16K version of the 
TRS-80. 

You can do I/O operations 
directly to and from disk sectors, 



if your system is so equipped. 
RSM-2D is the same monitor 
distributed on disk. 

RSM-2 loads into high 
memory and occupies 4,863 
bytes of RAM. The disk version 
loads into high RAM of the 16K. 
32K, or 48K disk configurations 
and can be used with a printer. 
RSM-2 supports the Small 
System Hardware TRS-232 
serial data interface and any 
printer interfaced through the 
Centronics parallel port on Radio 
Shack's Expansion Interface. 

One handy feature is the right 
arrow key that initiates 
simultaneous CRT/printer out' 
put. In fact, pressing the key 
before entering a monitor com- 
-mand causes that command to 
be printed as well. A nice bonus 
for documentation! 

Besides the printer command, 
the RSM-2 monitor has 31 com- 
mands. They fall into the 
general groupings of control, 
tape, disk, and memory com- 
mands. I discovered user access 
to four routines within RSM-2: 
the CRT processing routine, the 
keyboard routine, the routine 
that checks for break key 
depression, and the printer 
driver. 

Another unique feature of 
RSM-2 is its ability to halt 
cassette I/O operations with the 
break key, an improvement over 
the Level II Basic scheme of hav- 
ing to press the reset button to 
restart cassette I/O. 

Most of the control commands 
are self-explanatory and are 
typical of those in other 
monitors; however, some deserve 
a closer look. For example, the 
Port Input and Port Output com- 
mands are directly accessible 
during monitor operation, par- 
ticularly during the program- 



186 



MONITORS 



ming and debugging of interface 
applications. 

The User command gives you 
a minimum of 128 bytes in 
which to locate self-designed 
patches that might complement 
RSM-2 functions. The Binary 
Arithmetic command lets you 
type in two numbers, A and B, 
and compute A-B, A-B, and B-A 
in both hex and decimal nota- 
tion. This is handy for determin'- 
ing required memory offsets. 

Many of the tape and disk 
commands are also self- 
explanatory. The Read System 
Tape command, however, has 
one minor drawback. It is sen- 
sitive to the noise generated at 
the I/O crossover points of data 
on the tape. One solution is to 
create a back-up copy of the 
system tape on a good-quality 
audio or digital cassette. This 
can be done with the RSM-2. 

The Read Date Tape com- 
mand is the unsung hero of the 
RSM-2 monitor. Unsung because 
it is not described in the 
documentation, and a hero 
because it allows reliable 
machine-language program tape 
copying. It ignores any input for- 
mat processing and reads any 
cassette as raw data. 

The Symbolic Dump, a 
disassembler program using 
Zilog mnemonics, cannot 
display ASCII characters with 
the mnemonic listing. Having to 
refer to a separate ASCII dump 
for analysis of machine-language 
programs is inconvenient. 
Another useful feature that is 
lacking is the ability to create an 
editor/assembler-compatible 
source file (ASCII text) from the 
disassembler process. 

The RSM-2/2D is a versatile, 
easy-to-use, and reliable pro- 
gramming tool that belongs in 



the software collection of any 
serious TRS-80 user. It might 
not be the ultimate monitor, but 
it offers exceptional value for the 
price. 

(Small Systems Software, P.O. 
Box 366, Newbury Park, CA 
91320. RSM-2 is no longer 
available.) 

Bruce W. Churchill 
April 1980 



•^ "^ "^ "^ 

SuperStep 

Allen GeMer Software 

Model I and HI 

SuperStep transforms the low- 
ly Radio Shack T-Bug into a 
heavyweight. It offers single- 
stepping, a two-speed trace 
mode, and a versatile dis- 
assembler that can run in con- 
junction with the single-step or 
trace modes. A processor model 
displays all registers and flags, 
both for the current instruction 
and for the previous one. An in- 
telligent RAM window shows the 
RAM locations and contents af- 
fected by memory accesses. 

SuperStep has commands that 
backspace in memory, clear the 
screen, and display memory con- 
tents in rows of 16— in hex or in 
ASCII. It gives direct access to 
the registers and to the flags. 
There is also a relative-jump 
pointer that shows where you 
are jumping to, and a high-speed 
Save/Load command included in 
the package. 

The program's string editor 
allows inserting or deleting bytes 
in a sequence of code. The b5^es 
on eitlier side of the change 
move aside or close up, as 
necessary. Useful for editing 
ASCII strings or tables, this 



187 



SOFTWARE 



feature also allows creating or 
deleting space within the pro- 
gram it modifies; it no longer 
needs to jump elsewhere to do 
its work. 

I rate SuperStep as the best 
single program I have in my 
modest collection. If the program 
is useful as a debugger, it is in- 
valuable as an aid to learning 
Assembly-language program- 
ming, and the Z80 instruction 
set in particular. 

I do have a couple of minor 
bones to pick with the program's 
author. The documentation 
needs to be revised and reor- 
ganized. It could be greatly ex- 
panded, with many more ex- 
amples. But this is hardly a fatal 
shortcoming since you learn to 
use this program by using it and 
experimenting. The only real 
reservation that I have about the 
program is that it needs T-Bug 
to run. SuperStep is a steal at its 
price, but you must also pay $15 
for T-Bug. Perhaps Gelder will 
rewrite the program as a stand- 
alone monitor. 
(Allen Gelder Software, Box 
1 1 721 Main Post Office, San 
Francisco, CA 94101. Superstep 
has been replaced by Stretch 
Superstep, $39.95.) 

Mendel Cooper 
September 1981 



Tasmon 

The Alternate Source 

Model I or III 

Tasmon is one of the new 
breed of TRS-80 machine- 
language monitor programs. A 
good monitor lets you stop a 
machine-language program, ex- 
amine memory locations. 



change them and continue nm- 
ning the machine-language pro- 
gram. Tasmon provides these 
features and many more. 

I received Tasmon on an easy 
loading cassette for the Model I 
that included all the disk com- 
mands; tape is merely the 
medium for distribution. 
Tasmon is perfectly usable if you 
don't have a disk, although you 
can't use the disk commands. 
Note that none of Tasmon's disk 
commands are implemented in 
the Model III version, at least not 
on Tasmon Version 2. 12. The 
Model III version does support 
both high and low-speed cassette 
I/O, although it is done 
somewhat awkwardly via the 
monitor's Modify Memory com- 
mand. Tasmon occupies about 
8K bytes; it is for this reason 
that 32K bytes of RAM are 
recommended. 

Tasmon comes a lot closer to 
my ideal than any other monitor 
program I have used. In 95 per- 
cent of the situations you face in 
machine-language program 
debugging, Tasmon makes all 
the features you need readily 
available. It does the Job of at 
least four separate programs I 
previously used. 

This is not to say that it is 
perfect, obviously. In fact a func- 
tion I wanted was missing— 
a memory block comparison 
command. 

Fortunately, Tasmon allows 
you to add new commands, 
although the documentation on 
how to do so is a bit skimpy. To 
his credit, the author of Tasmon 
has made commented source 
listings of the program available 
to its purchasers for $15. 

In addition to the commands 
to load a tape or disk machine- 
language file, Tasmon includes a 



188 



MONITORS 



command to view a file. You can 
also write a machine-language 
file to disk or tape. These 
capabilities allow Tasmon to be 
used as a general backup and 
transfer facility. You can use it to 
move machine-language pro- 
grams from disk to tape, pro- 
viding a less expensive means of 
keeping backup copies than us- 
ing additional disks. 

The area where Tasmon 
shines is in its debugging com- 
mands. About the only thing 
lacking is the symbolic debug- 
ging capability found on some 
mini and mainframe computers, 
which allows you to refer to 
memory locations using the 
symbols from your assembly 
source. 

The most novel feature is the 
ability to trace or single-step 
through a program in ROM. 
Tasmon also lets you specify 
whether the Z80 RST instruc- 
tions should be executed in full 
or stepped through. 

Breakpoint setting is extreme- 
ly flexible. You can have up to 
nine breakpoints active at any 
one time. You just set the break- 
points once and forget them un- 
til you want to clear them. An 
extremely nice feature lets you 
specify the number of times (up 
to 256) that a breakpoint should 
be executed before it actually 
takes effect. 

One more super feature is that 
Tasmon lets you specify a keep- 
screen buffer in memory. This 
1,024-byte area of your own 
choosing gets the current con- 
tents of the screen before 
Tasmon writes its display out 
while single-stepping or tracing. 
One thing I would like to see 
added would be the ability to 
specify a memory buffer whose 
contents would be continuously 



updated on the screen during 
single-stepping and tracing. 

In addition to those already 
mentioned, some of the more 
notable utility functions include 
the ability to get an ASCII or hex 
dump of an area of memory, 
disassemble memory and 
display the output in Z80 
mnemonics, search memory for 
a key up to four bytes long, 
modify memory in hex or ASCII, 
disassemble to the printer, 
change the contents of any 
register, perform hex arithmetic 
(but no decimal conversions, un- 
fortunately), go to a user routine, 
move a block of memory, set a 
block of memory to some value 
and dump the screen contents to 
a printer. 

The documentation supplied 
with Tasmon is very complete 
and professionally done. 
However, the documentation 
does not pretend to be a tutorial 
on Assembly language by any 
means. This is not to say tliat 
the beginning Assembly- 
language programmer wouldn't 
find Tasmon useful; it certainly 
is a lot easier to use than T-Bug. 

A couple of Tasmon's features 
allow you to direct output to the 
printer. One prints the current 
screen contents, and the other 
directs a disassembly to the 
printer. Rather than use the 
standard ROM Call at 003B to 
put a byte to the printer, 
Tasmon goes straight to the 
parallel printer driver in the 
ROM at 058D. The problem with 
this approach is that if your 
printer requires a special driver, 
as many do, it will not be called. 

I have found Tasmon to be an 
indispensable aid to debugging, 
moving machine-language files 
around, and just generally ex- 
ploring Z80 code. Its flaws are 



189 



SOFTWARi 



minor, and more in the wish4ist 
category than anything else. 
(The Alternate Source, 704 N. 
Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing, MI 
48906; cassette or disk, 16K re- 
quired, 32K recommended; 
$29.95.) 

Rowland Archer 
January 1982 

■^ -^ -^ V2 
Ultra-Mom 
Interpro 
Model I and III 

Calling Ultra-Mon "Son of 
Debug" would not be missing 
the mark. Like Debug, it can ex- 
ecute when an error or break- 
point is encountered and also 
when a set boundary is over- 
stepped. In addition, it shows the 
content of each Z80 register pair, 
the next 16 bytes at the relative 
address in ASCII and Hex, 
displays a full page of memory, 
executes single steps or calls, 
and lets you modify memory or 
registers. 

Unlike Debug, it shows a dis- 
assembly of the next instruction 
to be executed, disassembles a 
block of memory, or does a 
dynamic trace at the rate of 
eight steps per second. All the 
data from a disassembly or a 
trace goes to the printer 
automatically, if one is available. 

Ultra-Mon relocates itself, relo- 
cates a block of memory (chang- 
ing all internal addresses), comes 
on tape (but can be put on disk), 
and runs in standard 16K, 32K 
and 48K Level II machines. 
What more could you ask? 
(Interpro, P.O. Box 4211, Man- 
chester, NH 03108; $24.95 on 
disk and cassette.) 

Dennis Thurlow 
April 1981 



■^ "^ "^ "^ 

XBUG 

Computer Applications 

Unlimited 

Model I and III 

XBUG is an excellent monitor 
and software debugger with effi- 
cient power, clear documenta- 
tion, and low cost. XBUG has 25 
commands and command varia- 
tions. These can be categorized 
into memory and register 
manipulation functions and soft- 
ware development functions. 

XBUG displays a page of 
memory by entering the com- 
mand byte and starting address 
for the memory page. The 
memory display format for 
XBUG is 16 lines, 16 bytes to a 
line, in a split-screen format with 
the hexadecimal display on the 
left and the ASCII representation 
on the right. 

Searching through memory 
for bit patterns up to 16 bytes 
long is also easy. XBUG searches 
all memory starting at the cur- 
rent page and displays either a 
page of memory on a find or a 
no-find message. Memory 
searching can be resumed by 
two keystrokes since XBUG re- 
tains the current search pattern 
until you enter a new pattern. 

It modifies memory by either 
setting a block to a constant, or 
by writing hexadecimal data into 
memory byte by byte. 

XBUG relocates to any address 
in RAM. Therefore, it can be 
used with virtually any system 
program regardless of its loca- 
tion in memory. The only re- 
quirement is that you have at 
least 2,560 bytes of RAM for 
XBUG either before or after the 
system program. 

Another handy debugging 
technique is the use of program 



190 



MUSIC/VOICE SYNTHESIS 



breakpoints to stop a program at 
a user-specified place. With 
XBUG you can set up to 10 pro- 
gram breakpoints and remove 
them either selectively or global- 
ly. When a program hits a break- 
point, the last register or 
memory display is updated and 
displayed on the screen. 

During debug, XBUG's display 
and keyboard monitoring 
capabilities can be disabled 
allowing test program access to 
the keyboard for input and to 
the screen for output. 

XBUG can route a copy of the 
screen display through the 
parallel printer port, or with the 
Model III through a serial port. 

XBUG's simple manual de- 
scribes all the commands com- 
plete with examples. I am im- 
pressed with the quality of this 
product; the manual, software 
and examples are excellent. 
XBUG is a good investment. 
(Computer Applications 
Unlimited, P.O. Box 214, Dept 
ABM, Rye, NY 10508: $19.95.) 

Alan Bumes 
March 1982 



lUSIC/VOICE' 
SYNTHESIS 



^ V2 

Cheaptalk 
Alan Saville 
Model I 

Cheaptalk comes with tliree 
programs. The first is a 
machine-language routine to 
output sounds through the 
cassette port. The second is a 
Basic driver routine to read 




bytes in memory and display 
them (while pronouncing the 
hex names). 

The third program allows you 
to encode speech using hard- 
ware that Saville explains how to 
make. The routine is easy to 
write, essentially doing what 
ROM normally does when it 
reads tapes, except that here 
you shorten the timing loops. 

The voice is extremely raspy, 
but usually intelligible. The ver- 
bal output is limited to the 
numbers and letters in the hex 
number system. The letters are 
output as phonetics for clarity. 

Instructions are provided for 
hardware modification requiring 
a simple A/D converter. One 
method requires you to modify 
the keyboard itself. For the other 
you build an external device to 
connect to the expansion inter- 
face port or to the keyboard ex- 
pansion port. Instructions also 
show you how to modify the 
tape recorder for use as a 
microphone for inputting 
speech. 

Although the package is not 
expensive, I cannot recommend 
it. The tone quality is too low, 
and the A/D encoding takes up 
too much meinory, using 512 



191 



SOFTWARE 



bytes per second of speech. A 
10-word vocabulary would re- 
quire a full 5K of storage. Cheap- 
talk is a good idea, but it needs a 
better encoding technique to 
allow for better resolution of 
voice tones. 

(Alan Saville, San Diego, CA 
92101; $19.95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
May 1982 

"A ^ ^ 

Keynote 

Hayden Book Co Inc. 

"^ "A" 'A' 
Music Master 
Instant Software Inc. 
Model I 

The Music Master software 
package consists of a Level 11 
cassette tape containing four 
programs: Micro Organ, 
Kaleidopy, Keymania, and Com- 
poser. All will run in 4K of 
memory and require that the 
computer's cassette output cord 
be attached to an external 
amplifier. 

The first program, Micro 
Organ, is a machine-language 
program that turns the top two 
rows of keys into an organ 
keyboard on which one note or 
voice can be played. You can 
choose between three tone col- 
ors, piano, organ, and harp- 
sicord, but the names do not ac- 
curately represent the sounds. 

Another drawback of this pro- 
gram is that the music is stacca- 
to sounding because you must 
release the first note before the 
second note can be played. Also, 
the only way to save a musical 
piece is to record it with a 
microphone and tape recorder. 

The second program, Kalei- 



dopy, generates random musical 
notes and produces a graphic 
design on the screen as it plays 
the notes. It is entertaining for a 
few minutes, but then each piece 
starts to sound the same. 

In the third program, 
Keymania, random notes are 
played and the players must 
replay the notes in the order that 
they were heard. The game can 
be challenging and fun. 

Composer is the final program 
and the least valuable. Like 
Kaleidopy, this program 
generates random musical notes, 
but plays them in user-selectable 
keys and tempos. It's boring. 

Music Master is a fair package, 
ideal for demonstrations and for 
the person who is interested only 
in occasional experimentation 
with computer music. Its price is 
very reasonable, and its quality 
and documentation are good. 

Keynote 

Keynote is a Level II machine- 
language/Basic program that re- 
quires a minimum of 16K RAM. 
The program permits the user to 
enter a musical piece using a 
special mini-language in which 
symbols are used to label a 
note's pitch and duration. The 
resulting piece can be edited and 
saved on cassette. 

The program's sjnithesizer 
features a five-octave pitch 
range, three possible tempos, 
and the ability to repeat certain 
sections of the piece. Keynote 
also features extensive error- 
trapping routines that result in 
smooth program execution. 
After you enter a song, you can 
choose from a multi-function op- 
tions list to edit and review the 
piece, play the piece, or save the 
piece on tape. 

This package has some 



192 



MUSIC/VOICE SYNTHESIS 



negative points, however. The 
execution time of the Basic pro- 
gram is slow, especially in the 
edit and review mode. The tape 
saves and loads also get quite 
long. Execution time can make 
or break a program's effec- 
tiveness for frustration-free use, 
and Keynote is just too slow. 
The program also supports only 
one voice at a time, limiting the 
piece to melody— not enough for 
serious music programming. 
Keynote is, however, an ex- 
cellent program for the 
newcomer to computer music 
who would like to try it without 
committing himself to a large ex- 
pense. The quality of Hayden's 
software is outstanding, and 
their documentation is good. For 
occasional use and for 
demonstrations. Keynote rates 
as a good buy. 

(Keynote is no longer available. 
Hayden Book Co. Inc., Rochelle 
Park, NJ 07622. Music Master, 
Instant Software Inc., Peter- 
borough, NH 03458; Model I and 
HI, $14.95.) 

Jim Held 
May 1981 

■^ ■^ 

Micro Music 
Tandy/ Radio Shack 
Model I 

Micro Music gives you musical 
notes including sharps, flats, and 
naturals over five octaves. You 
control the tempo with rests, 
tremolos, triplets, and staccato 
notes. There are also a number 
of voice-modifying commands 
that change timbre. 

The documentation is ade- 
quate, but, as usual, it leaves out 
some surprises, which prove 
that Murphy will never be forced 
to the unemployment office 



while computers exist. If your 
musical selections act peculiar or 
even weird, look out for inadver- 
tent spaces after opening paren- 
theses and, the worst offenders 
of all, an accidentally inserted 
closing parenthesis or misuse of 
the up and down arrows. 

Micro Music does not provide 
unlimited space to write your 
song, but exactly 16 full lines of 
characters before you start writ- 
ing over the top line. This is only 
destructive if you are busy tran- 
scribing a Bach fugue and forget 
to watch the screen! 

With careful keyboard work, 
some study, and the ability to 
read music, you can enjoy this 
extension of your TRS-80 and 
Tandy's never-ending flght to 
educate, instruct, and now 
amuse. Besides, the sample list- 
ing in the documentation is a 
real tour de force presentation of 
"The Flight of the Bumblebee." 
If you are old enough, it will 
bring back memories of "The 
Green Hornet." 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; Micro Music 
is no longer available from 
Radio Shack stores.) 

Allan S. Joffe 
October 1980 



Music Composer/Editor 
PFDC Software 
Model I 

Music Composer/Editor com- 
poses and plays music through a 
radio placed next to the TRS-80 
keyboard unit. The documenta- 
tion is very good, but the loading 
is touchy. Entering music into 
memory requires octave, note 
length, and note. If you can read 
music at all, you will be able to 



193 



SOFTWARE 



enter notes quickly. Daisy, along 
with a random 25-note piece, is 
provided as a part of the pro- 
gram. Many other features, such 
as listing, tape saving and 
loading, editing and playing, are 
provided. 

The music that results from 
this program is quite good; it is 
obvious that a great deal of 
thought went into its creation. 
However, there are some 
drawbacks. Only one note can 
be played at a time. Whenever a 
song is not playing, great 
amounts of computer noise 
emerge from the radio. All in all, 
this is a nice novelty demonstra- 
tion program; I'll let you decide 
whether it is worth the price. 
(Music Composer/Editor, once 
sold by PFDC Software, 784 
Goucher St.. Gretna, LA 70053, 
is no longer available.) 

Rod Hallen 
January 1980 

Music Master 
(See Page 192) 



Orchestra-BO 

Software Affair 
Model I and III 

Sometimes a product has such 
good quality and value that it 
soon becomes the standard in its 
class. Orchestra-80 is this kind 
of program. This hardware/ 
software combination for com- 
puter music generation is ver- 
satile, easy to use, and 
reasonably priced. 

The hardware half of 
Orchestra-80 consists of a 
lV2-by-2-inch printed circuit 
board that attaches to the 
TRS-80's keyboard edge connec- 
tor or to the expansion 
interface's bus extension. It is 
then connected to an external 



amplifier, using a standard RCA- 
type cord. 

The Orchestra-80 software, a 
16K machine-language program, 
contains a digital synthesizer 
that features a six-octave range, 
four simultaneous voices, and a 
music language compiler that 
will accept music written in 
any key, any time signature, and 
any note value from whole to 
64th notes. 

The software also contains a 
text editor that provides a 
14-line text display area and a 
two-line status display area; this 
is one of the program's best 
features. Equally impressive is 
the file-management system, 
which provides for orderly 
storage and retrieval of user files 
on tape or disk. Finally, the in- 
itialization routine lets you alter 
the tone colors of one or more of 
the four registers to achieve 
special effects or special 
dynamics. 

Orchestra-80 is extremely well 
documented. The manual gives 
full instructions on setup and 
use of the system, including an 
important section for nonmusi- 
cians on reading sheet music. 

Software Affair's Orchestra-80 
represents a best buy in com- 
puter music systems. Its price is 
less than half that of comparable 
systems, its documentation is 
thorough, and its operation is 
bug-free and enjoyable. 
(Orchestra-80 is no longer 
available; it has been replaced 
by Orchestra-85 and Orches- 
tra-90. Software Affair, 858 
Rubis Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 
94087.) 

Jim Held 
May 1981 

Orcliestra-85 and -90 
(See Page 310) 



TERMINAL PACKAGES/COMMUNICATION SOFTWARE 



PACKAGES/ 

)MMUNICATII 
SOFTWARE 



Automated Coinnmiiicatioiis 

Exchange 

(See Page 301) 

^ ^1/2 

Cassette Comm 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

After getting the Modem I from 
Radio Shack, I needed some way 
to interface it with the computer. 
Cassette Comm, a software 
package written specifically for 
the Model I Level II computer, 
suited my purposes. It is a bit 
more limited than the RS-232C 
Interface Board, but for my 
needs, it does a good job. 

I got the Cassette Comm 
package so I could connect with 
my company's computer and 
work at home and to call the 
local community bulletin board 
service (CBBS). In CBBS's menu, 
the user can choose to change 
both the baud rate and the 
duplex mode of the CBBS. While 
experimenting with this, I un- 
earthed some Cassette Comm 
limitations. Usually the baud 
rate can be changed and the 
Modem I allows for any rate from 
0-300. The RS-232C Board 
advertises a range from 50- 
19, 200. The Cassette Comm, 
however, is permanently set at 
300. Thus, if the computer you 
want to reach has a baud rate of 
150, you are out of luck. 

The Cassette Comm is set in 
the simplex mode, which means 
that your modem will continue 



to receive messages unless you 
hit a key on the board. If you do 
this while receiving a message, 
your sending signal will inter- 
rupt the receiving signal and 
what you see on the screen will 
not make any sense. By select- 
ing the half-duplex mode on 
CBBS, the echo disappeared, 
and what I typed did not appear 
on the screen. 

Another limitation with 
Cassette Comm deals with the 
ans/off/originate switch. Usually 
your computer can be at either 
end of the telephone line. You 
can call another computer (in 
which case you would be the 
originator), or another computer 
might call you (and you would 
be the answering computer). 
The Cassette Comm package, 
however, only allows you to 
originate the call. 

Despite its limitations. 
Cassette Comm has what I need. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $9.95, Model 
I, Level 11.) 

Virginia Dible 
January 1982 



Colorterni 
Martin Consulting 
Color Computer 

Colorterm converts a 16 or 
32K Color Computer into an in- 
telligent terminal. It possesses 
an extremely important proper- 
ty: It lets you get "on the air" 
almost immediately by ignoring 
its advanced features. When 
used in this fashion, Colorterm is 
almost invisible, with no exten- 
sive set of commands to get in 
the way. Colorterm's advanced 
features can be learned at a later 



191 



SOFTWARE 



time. Be assured, this is a 
painless package to work with at 
almost any level of sophis- 
tication. 

Colorterm occupies less than 
4,900 bytes of RAM, beginning 
at $1C00. It requires a high- 
resolution (6144 byte) video 
screen for the software-defined 
character set, one of its most 
distinctive features. The display 
memory employed starts at 
$400, so the Radio Shack disk 
system cannot be used in con- 
junction with the present version 
of the program. 

That high-density character 
set featured in Colorterm's 
advertising gives you a true up- 
per and lowercase display, 21 
lines by either 51 or 64 
characters (keyboard selectable). 
Lowercase characters have 
descenders. Colorterm uses the 
same characters for both line for- 
mats; spaces are just reduced for 
the higher-density display. 

The normal Colorterm display 
is black on a green background. 
This can be reversed from the 
keyboard, although the legibility 
suffers a bit. This feature is 
useful for highlighting particular 
lines of text, such as operator in- 
structions. 

The Colorterm character set 
can be patched into other pro- 
grams to dress up their output. 
The manual contains the details 
on calling several I/O subrou- 
tines from other Assembly- 
language programs. 

Colorterm comes configured 
for the most common ASCII data 
format: 300 baud, 7 data bits per 
word, even parity, and 1 stop bit. 
This is the format employed by 
CompuServe and Telenet, and I 
presume that it suffices for The 
Source and other major services. 
It is supported by the IBM TSO 



(time-sharing option) instal- 
lations. 

Should your requirements be 
different, any of these 
parameters can be changed by 
loading (but not executing) Col- 
orterm and then performing 
specific POKEs from Basic. The 
manual gives the relevant ad- 
dresses, as well as the data for 
saving the modified program to 
tape. There is also a keyboard 
command for switching between 
full and half-duplex transmis- 
sion; the default is half duplex. 

Experimenters will quickly 
discover that there is a misprint 
in the Colorterm manual. The 
definitions of the shift, up-arrow 
and shift, down-arrow combina- 
tions are reversed. These give an 
underline and a left bracket, 
respectively. The underline is an 
independent character; it cannot 
actually be positioned under 
anything previously typed. 

When you're ready to use Col- 
orterm, the right arrow gives 
you access to 18 predefined 
functions, each accessed by a 
single letter. In addition, you can 
define up to seven personalized 
functions using the arrow plus 
the letters T through Z; these 
functions generally take the 
form of ASCII control codes 
POKEd into the appropriate 
locations. 

Colorterm has two buffers 
reserved for frequently used 
macros, each of which may be 
up to 128 characters long. Once 
you have customized Colorterm 
in this fashion you have to 
store it on tape and be sure to 
use the appropriate version in fu- 
ture work. 

It is sometimes useful to 
preserve a window of data on the 
screen while the rest of the 
display scrolls. Colorterm allows 



196 



TERMINAL PACKAGES/COMMUNICATION SOFTWARE 



you to do this at the top of the 
screen. Highlighting the pre- 
served message with reverse 
video can be effective, too. 

Colorterm allows you to com- 
pose a file of useful size off line 
and then upload it in one shot. 
This process calls for close atten- 
tion to loading offsets and ad- 
dresses in general, a bit clumsy 
for my taste. You should be 
aware of the existence of this 
capability, though, because it is 
also employed in transmitting 
data from the buffer to a printer 
through the Color Computer's 
RS-232 port. 

One more interest is the ability 
to scroll through a mass of data 
down-loaded from the host to the 
Color Computer. You might 
want to receive data and go off 
line to examine it at your leisure, 
for example. Colorterm handles 
this easily. Unfortunately, there 
is no provision for scrolling 
backwards. 

I have found Colorterm easy to 
use and quite flexible for my 
day-to-day requirements. It is 
moderately priced, and the text 
densities are high enough to 
allow doing some serious work. 
(Martin Consulting, 94 
Macalester Bay, Winnipeg, 
Manitoba, R3T2X5 Canada; 
$34.95.) 

Scott L. Norman 
November 1982 



■^ '^ "^ "^ 

The CompuServe Software 

Package 

Tandy/Radio Shack 

Color Computer 

CompuServe is an information 
service available through Radio 
Shack. A software package con- 
verting your TRS-80 Color Com- 



puter to a terminal is available 
for $29.95. It includes the 
TRS-80 Videotex Software, one 
free hour of access time on Com- 
puServe, an operator's manual, 
and an identification number 
and password. 

You need a modem or acoustic 
coupler connected on the back of 
your Color Computer to go on- 
line with CompuServe. Once you 
are logged-on to the service, you 
have several options and 
features available to you. Some 
of these services include: 
Micronet Personal Computing, 
MicroQuote, Newspapers, Elec- 
tronic Mail, Home Information, 
Education, Special Services, 
Finance, and Communications. 

Current CompuServe user 
rates are $5 per hour connect 
time between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. 
Monday through Friday (at 300 
baud), all day Saturday, Sunday, 
and during any legal holiday. 
During prime time the cost is 
$22.50 per hour. The fee in- 
cludes 128K bytes of free disk 
storage when using the Micronet 
computing service. 

MicroQuote, a stock market in- 
formation service, is a recent ad- 
dition to CompuServe. It allows 
the stock investor to get data on 
more than 32,000 stocks. Micro- 
Quote is updated dally; historical 
prices, volumes, and dividends 
are available back to December 
31, 1973. It costs you a 
minimum of $1 each time you 
access MicroQuote. You are 
charged 5, 10, or 15 cents for 
each daily, weekly, or monthly 
data set, respectively. The data 
set includes the date, volume, 
high/ask, low/bid, and the clos- 
ing price of the stock. 

CompuServe news service is 
accessed through the main 
menu. There are several papers 



197 



SOFTWARE 



to choose from; you also have ac- 
cess to the AP News Wire Ser- 
vice. Drawbacks to this feature is 
that it is time consuming to ac- 
cess the news when you can 
read the same information in 
your local newspaper for about 
20 cents. The news is not up-to- 
the-minute, and you cari't key- 
word search the news for desired 
subjects of interest. 

Electronic Mail allows you to 
send a message to another 
subscriber. You must know the 
receiver's ID number. When the 
person is logged-on to Com- 
puServe the system announces 
that a message is waiting. At 
present, this system is not an 
alternative to the U.S. mail 
system. 

(The TRS-80 Color Computer 
CompuServe package is priced 
at $29.95. CompuServe pack- 
ages are also available for the 
Model I, II, and III for the same 
price. For additional informa- 
tion contact CompuServe, P.O. 
Box 20212, 5000 Arlington Cen- 
tre Blvd., Columbus, OH 43220; 
(800) 848-8990 or Tandy/ Radio 
Shack. As of Dec. 1, 1982 Com- 
puServe subscribers numbered 
33,000 and the prices quoted 
above were accurate.) 

Howard Berenbon 
January 1982 

"^ "X" w w '^ 

Dialog Information Retrieval 
Service 

Lockheed Corporation 
Model !, II, and III 

The Dialog Information 
Retrieval Service is a commer- 
cial data base accessed by a 
modem. Its sole purpose is to 
provide specific information on 
almost any subject to 

198 



businesses, individuals, and 
families. 

Having over 200 data bases 
covering some 55 million 
records, the service provides the 
computer user with an easy 
means of searching for and 
retrieving information. EJases 
currently on line include listings 
from medicine to music, legal 
resources to geology, chemicals 
to complete listings of grant and 
foundation sources. History, U.S. 
patents, most current periodi- 
cals, biographies, agriculture 
and energy are all subjects open 
to research. 

Dialog is a giant clearinghouse 
for data bases from both private 
and governmental areas. Addi- 
tional bases are always being 
added; one of the most recent is 
the Career Placement Registry, a 
file containing the names of 
graduates from over 1,400 col- 
leges and universities. The 
scholastic records of graduates 
can be searched and their 
resumes ordered so that unique 
and qualified individuals can be 
found almost effortlessly. 

What makes Dialog most at- 
tractive is the wide range of 
search techniques and aids 
available. You may search for 
specific information using cer- 
tain key words found in the 
reference's title, subject index or 
abstract. Most data iDases also 
provide additional indexes of 
searchable fields such as author, 
date of publication, language, 
journal name or classification 
code. Each data base provides a 
complete list of particular search 
fields. 

To find specific references, 
Boolean operators can be used. If 
you are looking for records deal- 
ing with solar energy, for in- 
stance, you may search under 



TERMINAL PACKAGES/COMMUNICATION SOFTWARE 



the descriptor "Solar" or under 
"Energy." In addition, the 
"and," "or," and "not" 
operators make search expres- 
sions such as "children and 
television and violence" possible. 

Through the Search and Save 
feature, you may formulate a 
search pattern that is stored on 
the system and automatically 
performed as data-base updates 
are made. 

References selected may be 
viewed on the CRT, sent to your 
printer in several formats, or 
printed on Dialog's own printers 
and mailed to you. If you desire 
complete documents, a Dial- 
order service places orders with 
a number of private retrieval 
services. 

Upon signing on to the system 
and requesting the data base to 
be searched. Dialog estimates 
sign-on cost. In fact, Each time a 
new data base is selected the 
system presents a cost analysis, 
making it easy for information 
suppliers to keep track for billing 
purposes. 

Unlike CompuServe, which 
charges a flat hourly rate, the 
on-line charges vary with each 
data base selected on Dialog. 
Rates range from $15 per hour 
for several practice data bases 
(called Ontap) to $300 per hour. 
The average rate ranges from 
$35-$70. In addition, a per-rec- 
ord charge for printouts made off 
line and mailed to you varies per 
data base but ranges from 10 to 
30 cents with a few exceptions. 
All but 19 of more than 200 
bases make no charge for 
records printed on line. 

One final additional charge is a 
$6-per-hour connect charge, 
made by either Telenet or 
Tymnet. Of course, you can dial 
Dialog direct if you Uve nearby. 



Dialog's excellent, and unique, 
customer service softens the 
blow of long searches. Each 
month active customers receive 
a free newsletter explaining 
Dialog changes, new data bases 
and search tips. Usually includ- 
ed are announcements of free 
time provided on at least one 
data base each month. Dialog 
also operates a series of training 
seminars in principal cities all 
over the world. For the serious 
researcher these seminars are 
well worth the price since learn- 
ing how to plan search strategies 
can save hundreds of dollars in 
connect time. 

(Dialog Information Retrieval 
Services Inc., 3460 Hillside 
Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304. The 
average Dialog access rate is 
now $25-$75.) 

Alan Neibauer 
June/July 1982 

■^ "^ "^ "^ 
Omniterm 
Lindbergh Systems 
Model I and HI 

David Lindbergh's Omniterm 
is a Model I smart-terminal 
package (the disk will run on the 
Model III after processing with 
the TRSDOS Convert utility) that 
boots up in a dumb-terminal 
mode. On the Model I it lists the 
RS-232's sense switch settings 
and configures the UART ac- 
cordingly, activating the lower- 
case driver if the computer has a 
lowercase mod. Since the Model 
III RS-232 has no sense 
switches, Model III Omniterm 
uses a standard setting of 300 
baud, 7 data bits, 1 stop bit, and 
even parity. 

Pressing the @ key twice 
places the computer into the 



199 



SOFTWARE 



command mode, showing a 
command menu and status dis- 
play. The letter P toggles the 
printer on and off. If the printer 
is not fast enough to keep up, 
Omniterm can buffer up to 
2,048 characters. R, screen 
reformatting, lets you set your 
screen width. This is handy 
when communicating with, for 
instance, Apple bulletin boards, 
which are set up for 40 char- 
acters across. In conjunction 
with reformatting, a carriage- 
return suppression function 
enhances the ability to print 
neat, even lines; line-feed sup- 
pression lets you communicate 
with a computer that sends only 
a carriage return at the end of a 
line rather than the standard 
carriage return and line feed. 

The D command provides soft- 
ware control of half or full 
duplex. Default is full. E toggles 
the echo function used when 
you must supply an echo to 
another computer or terminal; 
default is off. G controls a CR/LF 
grouping function normally used 
when the TRS-80 is the host 
computer for a Teletype or video 
terminal. I toggles input to the 
buffer when downloading from a 
remote computer; O controls 
output from it. Omniterm pro- 
vides for setting a delay between 
characters if sending to a slow 
machine, and has the ability to 
provide prompted output. 

Other commands are one-time 
functions, such as returning to 
DOS, a cold stm-t to reset all 
default values, or creating or 
changing an auto sign-on of up 
to 63 characters. 

One of Omniterm's most 
powerful features is that it allows 
translation of a byte to or from a 
device to any other byte. Typing 
T from the command mode lets 

200 



you examine and modify 7-byte 
translation tables, one for each 
possible device and one for each 
direction, to or from a device. 
This is useful for code conver- 
sions, or when customizing Om- 
niterm for use with additional 
hardware. For instance, if you 
have a printer built for use with 
IBM equipment, using EBCDIC 
code instead of ASCII, the need- 
ed conversion can be done while 
in Omniterm— no external pro- 
gram is needed. While other ter- 
minal programs can support 
code conversions, Omniterm is 
the only one I have seen where 
the operation is self-contained. 

Typing B while in the com- 
mand mode lets you scroll back 
the display by holding down the 
space bar. Omniterm holds in 
memory the last 2,048 bytes re- 
ceived at all times. If something 
goes by too quickly, just scroll 
back and read it again. 

Z sets the real-time clock to 
zero, enabling you to keep track 
of time on a computer system 
with time charges, or when pay- 
ing for a long-distance call. The 
Clock function must be activated 
from DOS before loading Omni- 
term so the clock displays on the 
screen. 

F loads a file into the I/O buffer 
so it can be sent out from the 
TRS-80. S saves a received file to 
disk. In case of a disk error while 
saving, Omniterm closes the file 
so text already written is retriev- 
able. The contents of the buffer 
are intact, so you can try again. 

There are five additional 
utilities on the disk. Two convert 
binary files to ASCII hex files 
and vice versa; two convert any 
type of file to a special error- 
detecting, bit-packed format 
with checksums at the end of 
each line, allowing 50 percent 



TERMINAL PACKAGES/COMMUNICATION SOFTWARE 



more data in the same amount 
of space, and vice versa. The last 
is a line-oriented text editor, 
useful for getting rid of garbage 
picked up when a buffer is 
opened too soon or closed too 
late. It can also create files to be 
transmitted by Omniterm. 

Five file-setting table files are 
supplied, and can be modified 
for a user's requirement. One 
reverses the keyboard from 
typewriter style to standard 
TRS-80 format, shift for lower- 
case, and the others are for us- 
ing the Models I and III with The 
Source and CompuServe or 
Micronet. 

The documentation is ex- 
cellent. It contains 76 pages of 
explicit directions as well as 
several appendices full of infor- 
mation such as code conversion 
tables and a glossary. All 
registered owners are notified of 
changes and improvements. 

For the user in search of a top- 
flight terminal program at a 
reasonable price, Omniterm fills 
the bill admirably. 
(Lindbergh Systems, 41 Fairhill 
Road, Holden, MA 01520; $95, 
32K, disk system.) 

Ronald H. Bobo 
April 1982 

"^ 'R' "^ 

Smart Terminal Program 
Howe Software 
Model I, II, and III 

The Smart Terminal Program 
(STERM) is designed for a 16K, 
32K, or 48K tape or disk-based 
Model I or III, or the Model II 
with CP/M. STERM, with an 
RS-232 and modem, lets you ac- 
cess another computer over the 
telephone lines and transfer files 
to or from the host system. 



STERM's communications 
parameters can be set to con- 
form to the requirements of the 
host computer. The baud rate, 
full or half duplex, the number 
of bits per word, the number of 
stop bits, even, odd, or no pari- 
ty, and a line feed after carriage 
return option are all software 
selectable. 

The software stores whatever 
appears on the screen in a 
memory buffer and dump the 
buffer on command to a disk file, 
a tape file, or a printer. Disk and 
tape files can be read by both 
Scripsit and Electric Pencil. In 
addition, everything on the 
screen can be simultaneously 
routed to the printer, with or 
without saving it in memory. 

You can type text or programs 
directly into the memory buffer 
for later transmission to the host 
computer one line at a time, 
upon receipt of a one to five- 
character, user-defined prompt 
string, or continuously. 

Files to be transmitted may 
also be prepared with Scripsit or 
Electric Pencil, saved to tape or 
disk, and then read into the 
memory buffer by the terminal 
program. Disk users can read 
and store Basic programs in disk 
files. The host computer can 
automatically send and receive 
data from the TRS-80's memory 
buffer if the host is capable of 
sending Standard Device Control 
Characters. 

Other special commands in- 
clude a true break code and an 
exit to DOS without rebooting. 
You can also display all available 
commands on the screen and 
redefine the control keys to 
transmit any ASCII character. 
Thus, symbols not on the 
TRS-80 keyboard can be sent to 
time-sharing systems. 



201 



SOFTWARE 



STERM does have faults. Only 
alphabetic control keys can be 
redefined to send arbitrary ASCII 
values. And special characters or 
control codes cannot be typed in- 
to memory for later automatic 
transmission. 

Unless you have a disk-based 
system, EJasic programs and 
data cannot be read into 
memory for transmission to the 
host system. Another shortcom- 
ing is that if you regularly re- 
quire a specific communications 
protocol other than the default 
values or special control key 
definitions, you must set these 
values every time you load the 
program. You can not save the 
parameters to disk or tape. Also 
bothersome is that you can only 
scan data stored in memory one 
line at a time. 

Additional minor complaints 
include the lack of absolute cur- 
sor positioning and no provision 
allowing the system clock to 
keep track of connect time. The 
Model III version only comes on 
a 500-baud cassette, making 
tape reading and writing un- 
necessarily time-consuming. 

The detailed documentation is 
fairly clear. Only the discussion 
of changing baud rates and 
redefining control keys is con- 
fusing. 

In summary, STERM provides 
many features not found 
elsewhere for tape-based com- 
puters. Disk users may prefer 
the significant advantages of 
somewhat more expensive pro- 
grams such as ST80-III or Om- 
niterm. 

(Howe Software, 14 Lexington 
Road, New City, NY 10956: 
Model I and III, $69 cassette, 
$74.95 disk. Model II $79.95.) 

Richard K. Wallace 
June/July 1982 



■^ "iBr w 

SmartSOd 

The Microperipheral Corp. 

Model I 

1^ ^ "A" /» 

ST80-III 

Small Business Systems 

Group 

Model I, II, or HI 

SmartSOd and ST80-III are 
smart-terminal programs that, in 
conjunction with a modem, 
allow a TRS-80 (with a disk 
drive) to access another com- 
puter by telephone or radio. 
They are the best two programs 
I have seen on the market. Both 
are easy to use, well- 
documented, and readily adapt- 
able to the various communica- 
tion requirements of the system 
to be accessed. 

A terminal program gives the 
TRS-80 the ability to com- 
municate with another computer 
or terminal. A smart terminal 
program also allows the transfer 
of data or programs both to and 
from the other terminal or com- 
puter. 

You can set the communica- 
tion parameters of both pro- 
grams to conform to the 
requirements of the host com- 
puter. Full- or half-duplex 
transmission is software select- 
able with both programs. You 
can select the number of bits per 
word, the number of stop bits, 
and even, odd, or no parity can 
be selected with Smart80d but 
only with the RS-232 version of 
ST80-III. In addition ST80-III lets 
you both send and receive a line 
feed after a carriage return and 
to send a predetermined number 
of nulls after a carriage return. 

Both Smart80d and ST80-IH 



202 



TERMINAL PACKAGES/COMMUNICATION SOFTWARE 



can store what is seen on the 
screen to a buffer in memory 
and then, on command, dump 
the buffer to a file on disk. The 
buffer can be opened and closed 
automatically by both programs. 

SmartSOd and ST80-III can 
send text or programs to another 
tenninal or computer. SmartSOd 
also can automatically open and 
close the receiving terminal's 
buffer if it is equipped for auto 
receive. Both programs have 
three other functions in com- 
mon: the ability to route 
everything that goes to the 
screen to a printer, the ability to 
temporarily exit the program to 
execute a DOS command, and 
the ability to transmit a true 
break code. 

SmartSOd has two buffers in 
which a log-on or any other 
message can be stored. STSO-III 
loads its log-on buffer from a 
table that is stored on disk and 
can transmit the message on 
command. STSO-III can display 
all of its commands on the 
screen and can be programmed 
so any key can send any code. 
All incoming codes can be 
changed to another single code, 
STSO-III has two features that 
are unique to terminal programs 
that I have seen: It allows use of 
the system clock, and it will 
allow an amateur radio operator 
to monitor a frequency for his 
call sign or any character string 
for which STSO-III is pro- 
grammed. 

Both SmartSOd and STSO-III 
have similar utility programs on 
their disk (although SmartSOd 
has better screen prompts). The 
first creates a message for up- 
loading to a bulletin board. The 
other takes a Basic program that 
has been down-loaded and lets 
you delete extraneous carriage 



returns and lines that are not 
needed in the Basic program. 
Both programs also have a utili- 
ty list of all possible 255 codes 
that can be sent or received in 
decimal and their definitions. 
The SmartSOd version also gives 
the codes' hex equivalent and its 
use in the TRS-SO. 

STSO-IIFs other utilities are: A 
program that creates a 
checksum for any file; a program 
to generate a table that contains 
the log-on message generator 
and can redefine control codes to 
eliminate possible conflicts be- 
tween systems; and a program 
to convert binary files to ASCII 
or vice versa. These last two pro- 
grams can also scramble and 
unscramble a file for a security 
transmission. There are also two 
programs to send and receive 
machine-code programs in Intel 
paper tape format. 

The documentation provided 
with both programs is excellent. 
The SmartSOd manual goes into 
more detail on the actual use of 
the software, and the STSO-III 
manual gives better examples of 
how it accesses various bulletin 
boards. The Source, and Compu- 




w»%i^'^^ 



SOFTWARE 



Serve. The documentation for 
SmartSOd also comes on the 
disk in a file that can be printed 
on a printer or listed from DOS. 
SmartSOd and ST80-III do an 
excellent job of making the 
TRS-80 a smart terminal. ST80- 
III has a few more features than 
SmartSOd, but SmartSOd is 
much more cost-effective than 
ST80-III. 

(SmartSOd, Model I $29.95, 
SmartSd Model III $49.95, The 
Microperipheral Corp., 2643 
151 Place NE, Redmond, WA 
98052. ST80-ni, Small Business 
Systems Group, 6 Carlisle 
Road, Westford, MA 01886; 
Model I and III $1 50, Model II 
$250.) 

Bill Everett 
September 1981 



'^ ^ ^ ^ 

TDS/DFT 

Big Systems Software 

Model I and HI 

If you have a modem for your 
computer, you should not be 
without TDS/DFT (Tape 
Downloading System and Direct 
File Transfer). 

These two programs are 
machine-language smart ter- 
minal utilities. TDS is similar to 
many smart-terminal programs 
on the market, while DFT can 
transfer machine-language pro- 
grams without conversion (if the 
host computer also uses DFT). 

In addition to uploading and 
downloading, with these pro- 
grams you can access Basic 
directly, use all ASCII control 
codes, including upper and 
lowercase, transmit at full or half 
duplex, transmit at 10 different 
speeds, and define 10 control 



keys. The Model III version in- 
cludes a high/low cassette rate 
option. 

One of the supplemental pro- 
grams, SYSCVT, changes a 
machine-language program to 
an encoded Basic program. You 
can then transmit the encoded 
program to a host computer, but 
it must also have the TDS 
package to decode the data. 

The second complementary 
program is AUTOL. You type a 
log-in code, and the program 
bypasses the manual BBS log-on 
procedures (first name, last 
name, city, and state). 

The well-documented manuals 
explained the programs' use 
clearly. My only problem oc- 
curred when I first loaded TDS 
and attempted to call up the sys- 
tem. I had absolutely no results. 
I soon discovered that with a 
Model III and Lynx modem, I 
must enter the command POKE 
16912,56 before using the 
program. 

(Big Systems Software, 27574 
Via Rosalie, Mount Clemens, MI 
48043; Model I and III, $29.95 
and $19.95 respectively, $40 for 
both.) 

Tim Knight 
June/July 1982 



"^ "^ ■^ 

Uniterm 

B. T. Enterprises 

Model I and III 

Uniterm is short for Universal 
Terminal Program. It works on 
both the Models I and III, and 
can be used with NEWDOS -i- , 
TRSDOS, DOSPLUS, LDOS, and 
NEWDOS80 versions 1 and 2. 
Your system must have at least 
one drive and 32K RAM, as well 



^m^^y^V 



UTILITIES 




cess hours, baud rates, and 
special interest codes. 

I enjoy using Uniterm— it con- 
forms to the way I want to do 
things. 

(B. T. Enterprises, 1 71 Hawkins 
Road, Centereach, NY 1 1 720; 
$79.95.) 

Sal Navarro 
June/July 1982 



■UTILITIES" 



as some type of serial interface, 
and a Lynx, Chatterbox, or 
Microconnection modem. 

The following commands are 
available: Auto buffer open/close; 
load/save binary file; close buf- 
fer; display/print buffer; exit to 
DOS; half/full duplex; define in- 
itialization parameters; load 
ASCII file to buffer; change 
modem parameters; open and 
zero buffer; send buffer in 
prompt mode; send buffer with 
auto open/close buffer codes; 
save buffer in ASCII format; 
transmit buffer; set screen to 
desired width; type to buffer; 
and display command list. 

The manual includes a 
glossary of terms used in smart 
terminal programs and instruc- 
tions on how to build a special 
table if you so desire. If at any 
time there are updates for 
Uniterm, a section explains how 
to download those updates. A 
technical information section ex- 
plains overlays and locations 
that Uniterm uses and for what. 

A list of public access systems 
in use around the country is also 
provided. It includes what type 
of system, phone number, ac- 



Asptch 3.2 

Byte Miser Software 

Model I or III 

Byte Miser Software has 
developed a patch to 
Editor/ Assembler that assembles 
programs directly to memory. It 
is particularly useful for writing 
machine-language subroutines 
to be called from Basic. 

Asptch 3.2 loads on top of 
Editor/ Assembler. The tape 
replaces over 300 different areas, 
while stealing less than 400 
bytes from the text buffer (just 
like Basic). This high memory is 
used for the machine-language 
program. Asptch already has 
keyboard debounce. You can 
also use this keyboard debounce 
routine from Basic. 

The Asptch memory-size com- 
mand (A) redefines protected 
memory. This is not a destruc- 
tive command. It leaves the text 
buffer intact, unlike Basic. This 
is useful when you find that 
your program uses more 
memory than expected. 

You can test your machine- 
language program. The Execute 



205 



SOnWARE 



command jumps to the starting 
address of your program just like 
Run in Basic. Asptch can regain 
control in several ways. A return 
instnictlon without a corre- 
sponding call will return to 
Asptch. 

The machine-language pro- 
gram can jump to an Asptch or 
Basic reentry point. The reset 
button will put you in Basic. 
Once in Basic, you can use the 
System command to reenter 
Asptch. As long as your program 
does not disturb Asptch or its 
text buffer, you can regain con- 
trol without losing a byte. 

A unique and powerful feature 
of Asptcih is the memory-size 
command. This lets you enter 
Basic with Asptch, your 
Assembly-language source code, 
and your machine-language ob- 
ject code all protected in high 
memory. Using this feature, you 
can develop machine-language 
subroutines for use with Basic. 

The Convert Display, and 
Modify commands put Asptch in 
a monitor mode. You can display 
memory addresses and their 
contents in hex, decimal, and 
the printable character codes 
(ASCII). Using the up and down 
arrows, you can scroll through 
memory. Subcommands can 
modify locations and enter the 
Basic calculator mode. 

Don't confuse this monitor 
with T-Bug, Z-Bug, or anything 
else. It has a provision for break* 
points or looking at registers' 
contents. This monitor is not 
designed for heavy debugging. 
The author assumes you would 
rather modify your source code 
and reassemble than play with 
your object code. 

Asptch adds a few more 
features to Editor/ Assembler. 
After each source dump, it pro- 



vides a verify option. This gives 
you the opportunity to rewind 
the tape and let the computer 
compare the file to memory just 
like CLOAD? in Basic. Asptch 
will not work with 
Editor/ Assembler version 1.1. 
Asptch's major competition 
(on the Model I) is Microsoft's 
Editor/ Assembler Plus. Asptch's 
advantages are lower cost 
(assuming you already own 
Editor/ Assembler 1.2), source 
tape verify, Basic reentry with 
Asptch, an Assembly-language 
program saved in protected 
memory, and a larger text 
buffer. 

(Byte Miser Software, 720 W. 
Haven Blvd., Rocky Mount, NC 
27801, could not be reached for 
an update.) 

Dan Zuckerman 
February 1982 



*** 

AUTOK and QEDIT 
Discovery Bay Software 
Model I 

AUTOK provides an automatic 
keyboard repeat feature, so it 
replaces the repeat key— it 
causes any key that is pressed 
for more than one half second to 
repeat itself about eight times 
per second until it is released. 

QEDIT is a screen editor for 
Basic program statements, and it 
is the TRS-80 Basic text editor 
I've been looking for. To edit a 
line, bring it to the screen with 
List, press the clear key to get in- 
to the QEDIT mode, and use the 
four arrow keys to position the 
cursor where you want to make 
changes. QEDIT also lets you 
move lines around within a 
program without having to re- 
type them. 



206 



U I ILI i ltd 



You can't use QEDIT on a line 
that is more than 64 characters 
long or while the normal Level II 
text editor is in use, but these 
are minor disadvantages. 
(Discovery Bay Software, P.O. 
Box 464, Port Townsend, WA 
98368. AUTOK and QEDIT are 
now Omni-Key; $23.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 

^ "^ -^ ^ 

BIT 

ABS Suppliers 

Model I 

Unlike many utilities I've ex* 
amined, B17 is everything it's 
cracked up to be. It's both fast 
and easy to use. 

ABS Suppliers claims that B17 
will allow you to save, verify, 
and load Basic or machine-lan- 
guage programs almost four 
times faster than an ordinary 
cassette recorder. Data arrays 
(string or numeric) can be saved 
and loaded up to 165 times fast- 
er! All of this magic witli no ag- 
gravation—nearly for free, for 
Level II 16, 32, or 48K. 

There is no way to verify a 
data save but, using good quali- 
ty tape, I have had only one bad 
save in 500. 

Saving 60-75 percent of the 
time you spend loading pro- 
grams makes B17 well worth the 
money. Its data handling speed 
makes it a steal. The introduc- 
tory price is $22, but by the time 
you read this, it may be $50 and 
well worth it. 

One note: If you have the cas- 
sette mod from Radio Shack, 
you must add one switch in 
order to bypass the mod. B17 
won't work with any added 
audio processing devices. 



(ABS Suppliers, P.O. Box 8297, 
Ann Arbor, MI 481 07. B17 is 
available for $14.95 plus 
postage.) 

Stewart E. Fason 
March 1981 

-^ -^ ^ V2 
BasicPro 
Softworx Inc. 
Model I and III 

BasicPro is a cassette-based, 
machine-language utility pro- 
gram that runs on a 16K Model I 
or III. Its capabilities include the 
following useful programming 
and debugging aids: renumber 
or copy statements, rename 
variables or line references, pro- 
duce a cross-reference list of 
variables and line references, 
locate variables or line 
references, compress a program, 
recover a program, and merge 
two Basic cassette programs. 

The package is very easy to 
use. Its documentation could 
serve as a model of clarity and 
logical organization. BasicPro is 
loaded into memory with the use 
of the System command; then 
the Basic program you are work- 
ing on is loaded or entered. 

The commands all have a sim- 
ple and logical syntax. Each of 
them consists of a slash and one 
capital letter followed, when 
necessary, by the appropriate 
parameters. If you issue a com- 
mand that requires memory 
beyond the capacity of the com- 
puter, an appropriate error 
message appears. A complete list 
of BasicPro commands and their 
functions appears in response to 
an invalid command. 

Every base seems to have 
been covered by the program 
designers. I have found it a 



20 7 



SOFTWARE 



pleasure to work with. Con- 
gratulations to Softworx for plac- 
ing on the market such a useful 
and easy-to-use utility program 
at a reasonable price. 
(Softworx Inc., P.O. Box 9080, 
Seattle, WA 98109; $24.95.) 

Joel Benjamin 
January 1982 

M W W 

Bootstrap 

Practical Applications 

Model I 

Bootstrap's advertisement 
sounded so fanastic that I had to 
try it, and I wasn't disappointed. 
This utility creates a machine- 
language program (B(X)T/CMD) 
on the DOS disk that loads and 
runs your Basic programs. 

The program arrived with a 
short but adequate instruction 
sheet. I had considerable difficul- 
ty loading the cassette, and re- 
sorted to using a volume setting 
about one quarter lower than 
normal. There were four dumps 
on the cassette, two for TRSDOS 
2.2 or 2.3 and two for NEWDOS. 
BOOT/CMD loads at ABOOH 
43786 decimal, so if you have 
any other programs in this area, 
they will interfere with it. 

After running Bootstrap and 
loading your Basic programs, 
pressing enter twice lets you exit. 
Bootstrap then creates the 
BOOT/CMD program and clears 
the screen. By using CMD"S to 
get into DOS, type AUTO BOOT 
(enter) and your task is finished. 
Inserting your disk and pushing 
the reset button automatically 
loads the DOS, the verify com- 
mand, your machine language 
programs, and Basic. 

You can load and run as many 
machine-language programs as 



you want, but you can only run 
one Basic program. All further 
commands will be ignored. Boot- 
strap can also be used to merge 
two or more programs and run 
them without interruption. 

The instructions suggest you 
use the DIR command to list the 
disk directory, but if you are us- 
ing more than one drive, the di- 
rectory for the first flashes on and 
off the screen too quickly to read. 
The answer is to use the Free 
command which lists the disk 
name, formatting date and pass- 
word for all drives in use. 

You can fall into some traps 
playing around with Bootstrap, 
such as setting up BOOT/CMD so 
that it executes a continuous 
loop. If you can't get out with the 
break key, shut off the computer 
and remove the disk. Turn the 
computer on again, insert an- 
other DOS disk, and load it with 
the reset button. You can then re- 
insert the original disk and use 
kill BOOT/CMD to cancel the end- 
less loop. 

(Practical Applications, San 
Carlos, CA 94070, could not be 
reached for a product update. 
Bootstrap was originally sold for 
the Model I with 32K or 48K 
with cassette or disk.) 

James Ranney 
July 1980 

Compressor 1.1 
Robert M. Chambers 
Model I and III 

There are many programming 
techniques for saving memory, 
but the most obvious ones 
eliminate unnecessary blank 
spaces and REM statements. 
This can be done manually, 
editing each program line, or 
you can use Compressor 1.1. 



UTILITIES 



Compressor is a Level II 
machine-language program on 
cassette that removes all non- 
functional spaces and REM 
statements in a Basic program. 
REM line numbers are retained, 
since some GOTOs or GOSUBs 
within the program may jump to 
those line numbers. There are 
no combined lines, consequently 
no line numbers, GOTOs, or 
GOSUBs are changed. 

Compressor doesn't remove 
spaces between quotes because 
the screen and printed text 
would be affected. 

How much memory do you 
gain with Compressor 1.1? The 
five programs I wrote saved from 
7 to 17 percent of original pro- 
gram length. The sixth one I 
tried was packed with individual 
line editing, yet Compressor 
squeezed out another 100 bytes 
somewhere, and the program 
ran perfectly. 

While there are other packing 
programs available. Compressor 
1. 1 is fast, easy to use, and inex' 
pensive. The documentation for 
Compressor 1 . 1 is easy to follow 
and includes information on how 
to retain the program in high 
memory for repeated use. Basic 
programming hints are also pro- 
vided to save memory and gain 
high-speed execution of your 
programs. 

(Compressor 1 . 1 is sold by 
Robert M. Chambers, Napean, 
Ontario, Canada, who could not 
be reached for an update.) 

Fred Blechman 
January 1981 

■^ "^ "^ '^ 

Cross-Reference Utility 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I or III 

While writing a new program 



or improving an old one, it's 
easy to lose track of which 
variables go where and to forget 
how to get to a certain line. For- 
tunately, there is a good solution 
available for this problem. Cross- 
Reference Utility generates lists 
of references for the following 
important items: line numbers, 
variables, and reserved words. 

The machine-language pro- 
gram is sold on cassette and 
comes with a well-written in- 
struction manual, which in- 
cludes a step-by-step procedure 
for operating the program. The 
manual also includes a section 
with concise directions for 
transferring the program from 
cassette to disk using the 
TAPEDISK utility. 

The shortcomings in the 
documentation are very slight, 
but they are glaring when com- 
pared with the high quality of 
the program itself. Tandy needs 
to catch up on quality in the 
software department, and this 
program is a giant leap in the 
right direction. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $14.95.) 

Stephen F. Nowak 
May 1981 

-^ ^ -^ 1/2 
Discat 

Myatt & Smith 
Model I 

When a little voice in your 
disk storage box whispers "One 
of these days we've really got to 
get organized," don't get 
upset— help is on the way. 

The Discat Disk Catalog Index 
is a menu-driven machine-lan- 
guage program for the Model I, 
with a Model III version to be 
released soon. It will load an in- 



209 



SOFTWARE 



dex file of your programs in 
about 20 seconds, and then tell 
you where to find any one of 
some 17,000 programs (around 
7,200 for a 32K system), display- 
ing the disk number and indicat- 
ing which side the program is 
on. A disk number query dis- 
plays the complete listing for 
either side of any disk in your in- 
dex, and the program automati- 
cally keeps track of free space 
available. 

Discat permits not one, but 
nine different index files, each of 
which can hold 800 program lo- 
cations. As each disk directory is 
read, you can add to the current 
index any program on display, 
so you need not reorganize your 
entire disk inventory to put all 
your utility programs, for exam- 
ple, into a separate index. 

While nonstandard DOS disks 
such as Pascal, Forth, and CP/M 
must not be inserted into the up- 
date drive, Discat allows manual 
entry of these disks' numbers 
and programs into whichever in- 
dex you choose. 

Probably the most useful rou- 
tine in Discat is the search pro- 
gram. A search by program 
name does not require that the 
entire name and extension be 
entered; the name alone, the first 
few letters, or just the first letter 
will call a display of desired pro- 
grams in alphabetical order. 

A full editing menu allows 
deletion of a specific program or 
an entire diskful of program 
names. All submenus return the 
user to the main menu, where 
the current index name and its 
total number of disks and pro- 
grams are always displayed. The 
current index in memory can be 
saved to disk at any time. 

The program satisfies just 
about every need I could envi- 



sion for a disk file organizer. It is 
easy to use, fast, adequately 
documented, and capable of 
handling far more information 
than most TRS-80 users will 
probably need. When I discov- 
ered how many disks I could 
recover just by eliminating 
duplication and recapturing un- 
used space, the savings nearly 
equaled the price of the 
program. 

(Myatt & Smith, Tustin, CA 
92680. This company could not 
he reached for updated informa- 
tion. Discat originally sold for 
$50 and was available for the 
Model I with 32 or 48K, expan- 
sion interface, and one disk 
drive.) 

Robert, C. Daigh 
July 1981 



* * * * 
Disk Directory 
Mumford Micro Systems 
Model I 

The Mumford Micro Systems 
Disk Directory is a very efficient 
record keeper. The Mumford 
sorts data alphabetically either 
by file or by disk, holds 280 files 
in a 32K system or 850 in a 48K 
system, and either displays the 
files on screen or sends them to 
your printer. 

Now for the big surprise: The 
Mumford reads the information 
off the disk directory. All you do 
is insert your disk, give it an 
identifying name or code, and 
hit enter, and it loads the disk 
system, the file names, and then 
tells you how many free 
granules are left. 

How do they do it? The pro- 
gram (it's in Basic) is heavy in 
PEEKS and POKEs, with a 
USR(O) and several lines of 



210 



UTILITIES 



numeric data statements. Mum- 
ford is able to POKE a sub- 
routine that will call the DOS 
DIR program while retaining 
control in their own program. 
The program reads the screen 
through PEEK statements and 
stores the information in an 
array. 

Wlien you load all your disks 
in this file, you can sort, save, 
modify, or list your files 10 dif- 
ferent ways. This program also 
has side benefits. The sort 
routine is very fast. There is a 
nice subroutine that buzzes the 
expansion interface cassette 
relay when the sort is completed. 
Mumford's relay selects between 
cassette 1 and cassette 2 in the 
interface. 

(Disk Directory is sold by Mum- 
ford Micro Systems, Box 435, 
Summerland. CA 93067; 
$29.95.) 

Richard K. Riley 
January 1980 



"^ "^ ■^ "^ 
The Disk Doctor 
Superior Graphic Software 
Color Computer 

The Disk Doctor is a Basic pro- 
gram that assists in the 
reconstruction of a damaged Col- 
or Computer disk file, including 
machine-language programs. 

You don't necessarily have to 
have a problem with one of your 
disks to use the Disk Doctor: It is 
also useful for good disks. If you 
locate the beginning of a binary 
file and read the first sector, you 
are given the start, end, and ex- 
ecute addresses. I recommend 
using this program on good 
binary files so you can find and 
store this information should 
you ever need to reconstruct. 



Disk Doctor's written doc- 
umentation is minimal, but the 
eight pages are packed with 
information on reconstructing 
a crashed disk and preventa- 
tive care. 

As a bonus, the author has in- 
cluded a crashed disk with your 
program disk. If you successfully 
reconstruct the crashed disk, 
you get a back-up of the Disk 
Doctor and a Packer program. 
Packer, a binary routine, re- 
moves excess spaces from any 
Basic program to make the pro- 
gram run faster. On the crashed 
disk, data and graphics files are 
included to demonstrate how 
they can be reconstructed. It 
takes very little time to learn the 
reconstruction process, if you do 
the assigned homework. The 
homework is an overview of the 
disk allocation information in 
the Color Computer's disk 
operating manual. 

The Disk Doctor teaches you 
disk anatomy as well as preven- 
tative medical information, 
allowing your disk files to lead 
long and fulfilling lives. I feel 
safer when creating important 
files and programs having the 
Doctor "on call." 
(Superior Graphic Software, 406 
Little Mountain Road, 
Waynesville, NC 28786: 
$49.95.) 

John Steiner 
December 1982 



■^ ^ -^ 

Disk Drive Timer (DDT) 

Disco-Tech Microcomputer 

Products 

Model I, II, and ni 

The Disk Drive Timer allows 
you to check if the disk drives 
are running at correct speed. It 



211 



SOFTWARE 



is really a graphics-display 
tachometer. This can be impoF' 
tant since one may not be able to 
format or back up disks if the 
motor speed is out of range. In- 
correct motor speed can also 
cause data to be lost when load- 
ing or saving programs and files. 

When DDT is executed, it 
automatically loads Basic and 
runs. The menu selection con- 
sists of three basic options. The 
first option analyzes all the disk 
drives in your system that are 
ready. It displays on the video 
screen the motor speed in rpm 
and the percentage error from 
the required 300 rpm speed. 

The second option is essential- 
ly the same as the first, except 
that you specify the drive to be 
analyzed. 

The last option is the feature 
that makes DDT so useful as a 
diagnostic- and maintenance- 
software tool. Using this option, 
a linear-horizontal scale is 
displayed near the bottom of the 
screen with a graphics block in- 
dicating the motor speed of the 
specified disk drive, which is up- 
dated approximately once a sec- 
ond. Unfortunately, Disco-Tech 
doesn't include instructions on 
how to take your TRS-80 disk 
drive apart and adjust the speed 
if it is too low or high. 

Each disk contains three 
copies of the program so that if 
one copy of the program some- 
how becomes damaged you have 
a replacement. If you want to 
save some money as well as 
time, the DDT is a worthwhile 
investment. 

(Disco-Tech Microcomputer 
Products, P.O. Box 1659, Santa 
Rosa, CA 95402; $29.95 on 
disk.) 

Howard M. Berlin 
April 1981 

212 



•^ -^ ^ 

Disk* Mod 
Misosys 
Model I 

When I acquired a disk 
system, this utility helped make 
my Radio Shack cassette 
Editor/ Assembler more useful. 

Once I loaded the tape, using 
the program name DSKMOD, I 
saved the program to disk using 
TAPEDISK. The program runs 
from disk much more smoothly 
than from tape and permits easy 
input and output of data 
(assembly text or object code) to 
either tape or disk. Disk* Mod 
prompts when filespecs are 
needed. Anyone familar with 
EDTASM will find it easy to use. 

Disk* Mod also displays a disk 
directory showing the memory 
usage of each disk file and tells 
how much memory the current 
program is using, as well as how 
much text buffer is left. When 
you exit the program, you can 
go to DOS automatically or 
specify a destination. 

Most cassette users will find 
the sequence used for debugging 
with Disk* Mod quite different 
from what they're used to, but it 
is very effective and almost 
painless. 

I found only one problem with 
the adapted program: it doesn't 
handle some assembly text er- 
rors well. When I had a state- 
ment that wasn't in correct for- 
mat, that line and the next 
several lines printed eratically 
and illegibly, but the error 
wasn't pointed out. If the print 
during assembly starts to look 
strange, look for errors and you 
can fix the program and the 
print at the same time. 
(Disk* Mod is sold by Misosys, 
5904 Edgehill Road, Alexandria, 



UTILITIES 



VA 22303; This product is no 
longer available.) 

Buzz Gorsky 
December 1980 



■^ "A" "A" V2 
DISKNAME/BAS 

• ••¥2 
FLOPYCAT/BAS 
Marvin Plunkett 
Model I or III 

This disk library program 
from Marvin Plunkett has been 
pegged with the rather inelegant 
moniker, FLOPYCAT/BAS, but 
the inelegance stops there. 
Everything else about this pro- 
gram is indeed elegant. 

First, it is fast. Using machine- 
language subroutines, relocat- 
able for sorting and other high- 
level tasks, this Basic program 
works as fast as any high-quality 
word processor. Second, FLOPY- 
CAT/BAS is easy to use. The 
screen presentation is first 
rate— all prompts are well laid 
out and easy on the eye. 

Most importantly, FLOPY- 
CAT/BAS is versatile. It requires 
a minimum of 32K and it lets 
you store 429 disk file names. 
With 48K, you store 1,084 file 
names. You can use manual in- 
put or let the program read the 
files automatically. Search 
routines help you find a spe- 
cific file, and you can sort your 
disk library by disk name or 
file name. 

The program has extensive 
error-trapping abilities. I enjoyed 
being warned, as I was trying to 
exit to Basic, that the file 
had been changed but not writ- 
ten to disk. 

I give FLOPYCAT/BAS the 



edge over other disk directories 
on the market because of the 
author's attention to detail, the 
overall polish of the screen 
displays, and the user prompts. 
The documentation exhibits 
these same qualities and never 
bogs you down with unnec- 
essary details. 

For $10 more, you can pur- 
chase a companion program, 
equally elegant, called DISK- 
NAME/BAS, which lets you 
change the names of your disks. 
Using these programs, your 
disks will be much easier to keep 
track of, and they will be instant- 
ly organized. 

(Marvin Plunkett, a Microcom- 
puter System Consultant, Rose- 
burg, OR 97470, markets these 
programs. FLOPYCAT/BAS sells 
for $30, and DISKNAME/BAS 
sells for $1 5. As a package, they 
cost $40. The Model III version 
is DOSPLUS-compatible only.) 

G. Michael Vose 
May 1981 

■^ "^ "^ ■*/ 2 
DSMBLR 
Misosys 
Model I or III 

The best thing about DSMBLR 
is its wide variety of commands 
and flexibility. Even the tape 
version I reviewed came with 
three programs to fit different 
memory sizes. 

The commands are broken in- 
to three groups: Control, Output, 
and Special. The Control com- 
mands include B (Basic), which 
returns you to the Basic Ready 
prompt; C (Clear), which com- 
pletely clears the symbol table of 
the disassembler; E (Equate), 
which toggles the equate 
statements on and off— an 






SOFTWARE 



unusual feature in a disassem- 
bler; S (System), which loads a 
machine-language tape, finds 
the start and end addresses, and 
readies the program for disas- 
sembly; and T (Test), which 
merely loads the start and end 
addresses into memory. 

The Output commands are 
even more thorough, all output- 
ting memory address, contents 
of memory, line number, sym- 
bolic table, disassembled in- 
struction, and character output 
to the screen tape, or a printer. 
The printer output titles and for- 
mats pages very nicely! For 
special commands. Clear is the 
logical interrupt for any prompt; 
Break interrupts command re- 
quest entries; and Shift @, as in 
Basic, stops a continuous scroll 
(listing). 

The only shortcoming I see in 
this program is that the data 
elements and ASCII strings are 
transformed into Z80 instruc- 
tions. Data will be interpreted as 
something else, making modifi- 
cation necessary. This is not 
serious and will not present a 
problem to most programmers. 

The program and documenta- 
tion were made specifically for 
those with a knowledge of 
machine language. If you have 
this knowledge, are on a tight 
budget, and have not been able 
to find a good disassembler, 
DSMBLR is the program for you. 
It is top quality for the Model I or 
III tape or disk user, and worth 
much more than the modest 
price. 

(Misosys, 5904 Edgehill Drive, 
Alexandria, VA 22303. 
DSMBLR, version 2, is available 
on cassette transferable to disk 
for $20.} 

Tim Knight 
September 1982 



^ -^ "^ '^ 

Edit 

Somthern Software/ Alleii 

Gelder Software 

Model I and III 

I used to wish that the easy 
editing capabilities in Scripsit 
were possible with my Basic pro- 
grams. Things such as cursor 
control, scrolling, line functions, 
deletions and insertions, 
replicate functions, and global 
find and replace were so neat to 
have, but were unavailable on 
the Model III. 

Well, my troubles are over. 
Edit, published originally by 
Southern Software in England, 
makes all those things possible. 

The cursor is controlled via 
the arrow keys, hitting break 
once enters you to the special 
command mode, while hitting it 
again returns control to Basic. 
The enter and clear keys also 
have special functions, and @ is 
the control key. There are also 
special keys available in the edit 
mode. Both the keypad and 
alphabetic keys are very impor- 
tant. Pressing the @ and another 
number completes functions 
such as cursor motions, deleting, 
inserting, and so on. Pressing 
the @ and a letter performs line 
commands. 

One of the features I have 
found only in Edit is the 
replicate function. This makes a 
new line identical to the one the 
cursor is placed on. Edit also 
features block functions and 
global search and find. 

The thorough documentation 
will teach you how to use this 
utility quite effectively. I recom- 
mend its purchase. 
(Allen Gelder Software, Box 
1 1 721 Main Post Office, San 



UTILITIES 



Francisco, CA 94101; $40 J 

Tim Knight 
June/July 1982 



Faster 1.2 
Model I 



ESP-1 

Small Systems Software 
Model I 

ESP-1 is an old program that 
has been rewritten for the 
TRS-80. It is an editor, 
assembler, monitor, and debug- 
ger. Assembly-language source 
files are generated with ESP-1 
using the editor, and each line 
has a line number just like a 
Basic program. 

The assembler portion of 
ESP- 1 is a full-blooded assembler 
with all the standard features. 
The system monitor and debug- 
ger has over 20 commands for 
controlling your TRS-80. 

One drawback to ESP-1 is that 
the assembler recognizes Intel 
8080 mnemonics instead of 
Zilog Z80 mnemonics. This is 
great for the 8080 programmer 
moving written programs to the 
TRS-80, but it restricts the per- 
son who wants to learn to use 
Z80 code. 

(Small Systems Software, P.O. 
Box 366, Newbury Park, CA 
91320. ESP- J is no longer 
available.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 




RPM 

Model I and III 

"^ "^ "^ 
XTEND40 
ProSoft 
Model I and III 

Faster is advertised as a soft- 
ware speed-up for Basic pro- 
grams. Its approach is, however, 
unique. Faster is not a compiler; 
it is a program analyzer. It 
monitors the execution of your 
programs and keeps track of 
how they access their variables. 
It points out which lines you 
should pay attention to, and the 
variables you should define first, 

Faster's disk version comes 
without an operating system per 
se; its special disk copies its pro- 
grams onto one of your disks by 
itself, saving one-disk-drive 
owners the hassle of trying to 
load a non-system disk onto 
systems disks or buying another 
copyofTRSDOS. 

The manual is short ( 1 1 pages) 
but attractively printed and very 
well done. The instructions on 
how to install the programs on 
your own disks were incorrect, 
presumably since the self- 
copying disk is a new idea, but 
that disk came with its own in- 
structions. 

The manual discusses how to 
activate Faster to monitor Basic 
program execution, and how to 
use the output to modify Basic 
programs so they will run faster, 
as well as some common prob- 
lems that may occur (none of 
them happened to me) and some 
other suggestions for speeding 
up Basic, Faster also works with 

216 



SOFTWARE 



hybrid Basic/machine-language 
programs. 

Basic creates a variable list 
that it must search each time a 
variable is referenced. If your 
most often-used variables come 
at the end of the table, Basic 
must search longer for them. 
After your program has run long 
enough for Faster to get an ac- 
curate picture of how it operates 
(you do not have to run it to 
completion), the analyzer lists 
variable names, types, and 
number of times referenced, and 
the manual shows you how to 
set up your variable table to 
maximize speed. Most often, 
adding one or two lines, such as 
a DIM statement to allocate vari- 
able space, will speed up your 
program by 20 to 50 percent. 

Unless you always write very 
short programs. Faster offers an 
inexpensive way to speed up 
your Basic programs. If you can- 
not afford a compiler, and would 
like a significant increase in the 
run-time speed, then buy Faster. 

XTEND40 

If you have upgraded your 
system to 40-track drives and 
you have many 35-track disks, 
how do you avoid wasting those 
five extra tracks and 10 extra 
granules of space? You can get a 
40-track formatted disk and 
copy all your files over, one at a 
time— a lengthy process— or you 
can use XTEND40. 

In 15 seconds, XTEND40 for- 
mats those unused five tracks, 
verifies them, and updates the 
GAT sector. If they are already 
formatted, you receive an error 
message and are asked if you 
wish to do it anyway. This 
enables you to repeat the pro- 
cedure if a sector gets locked out 
during the formatting process. 



The manual consists of a 
single printed page, but the pro- 
gram is so simple to use, nothing 
more is required. XTEND40 will 
not query you for another at- 
tempt if a track is locked out, 
but since the whole process 
takes only 15 seconds, this is a 
minor inconvenience. If you 
have more than 20 disks to for- 
mat for 40 tracks, you can run 
through them in no time with 
XTEND40. 

RPM 

RPM is a useful, well-written 
disk-drive timing program. It 
measures (and gives easy in- 
structions on how to adjust) the 
speed of any drive in your 
system. 

A hybrid Basic/machine- 
language program, RPM gives 
not only the current speed and 
deviation from normal (3(X) 
rpm), but shows a continuously 
updated average and a graphics 
display of this variation. You 
may change to another drive 
simply by pressing the number 
of that drive. The speed variation 
graph and the averages are reset 
automatically, as is the number- 
of-observations counter. 

The manual is a terse four 
pages, but is complete and 
describes fairly well how to ad- 
just the speed. The continuous 
display lets you easily adjust 
drive speed within very narrow 
limits, once you find the drive's 
trimpot or potentiometer (in the 
lower left corner of my Pertec's 
main circuit board, not the up- 
per corner as the RPM manual 
says). 

The program is easy to use 
and provides a good diagnostic 
tool for your drives. If you have 
drive problems I recommend try- 






UTILITIES 



ing RPM before paying for 

repairs. 

(ProSqft, Dept C, Box 560, K 

Hollywood, CA 91603: Faster, 

Model I, $29.95; XTENDAO is no 

longer available; RPM, Model I 

and in, $24.95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
April 1982 



"^ "^ "^ 

FED File Editor for LDOS 
Galactic Software Inc. 
Model I and III 

FED is a file editor designed to 
run only under the LDOS 
operating system. It is a unique 
concept in zap programs in that 
it operates on the file level only, 
rather than the track/sector 
level. It is a great improvement 
over the usual zap program. 

There are two display modes: 
One is a standard 256-byte mode 
with the ASCII display on the 
left instead of the usual right, 
and the other is an extended 
128-byte mode with the ASCII 
across the top of the screen, the 
hex in the center, and plenty of 
space for other information. The 
T key toggles between these two 
display modes. The latter is 
particularly nice for modifying 
ASCII files. 

The usual file modifications 
are available plus much more. 
You can modify in hexadecimal 
or ASCII, and can find what the 
character under the cursor is in 
binary. 

There are three different file 
search commands which include 
a rarely seen search command 
for a load address. Other com- 
mand include printing an entire 
file to the line printer; sending 
the current edit buffer to the 



printer; and for the machine-lan- 
guage programmer, a command 
that Jumps from load block to 
load block within the file. 

For $40 you receive a disk-file 
editor that has capabilities you'll 
wonder how you got along 
without. I use mine almost daily 
and keep a copy on my working 
disk system so that it is always 
available to me. If you're an 
LDOS user and have a need to 
modify files at the disk-sector 
level, you should have this pro- 
gram in your library. 
(Galactic Software Inc., 11520 
N. Port Washington, Mequon, 
WI 53092; $40 disk.) 

Charles P. Knight 
December 1982 



FLOPYCAT/BAS 
(See Page 213) 



FORTRANslator 
The Management 
Model I 

If you are not a capable For- 
tran programmer or at least a 
very dedicated learner, skip this 
article. However, if you are a 
dedicated learner with a good 
supply of Fortran manuals and a 
good printer, you might be in- 
terested. 

The FORTRANslator utility, 
despite what you might expect, 
does not really translate Basic to 
Fortran. In fact, the resulting 
translation is totally useless to a 
programmer without a good For- 
tran vocabulary. 

The program consists of one 
disk with the BATRAN/CMD pro- 
gram and one page of documen- 
tation. I always expect problems 



217 



SOFTWARI 



with new programs, and I was 
not disappointed this time. The 
one-page letter included all the 
instructions and also contained a 
list of what the translator did 
and did not do. 

The instructions indicate what 
kinds of problems might be en- 
countered. However, they give 
no suggestions as to how to 
solve them. Of course, if you 
don't know Fortran already, you 
have no chance in hell of solving 
them. There are also problems 
with the printer output. The 
resulting translation requires ex- 
tensive editing and a line printer 
is a must. 

The printout procedure has 
some flaws. The first part of the 
printout is a cross reference of 
Basic calls that you have to alter. 
It is helpful, but when there is no 
output, the heading is printed 
and a whole page is wasted. 

The second page is a printout 
of the arrays used, broken down 
by GOTO array and subroutine 
arrays. This is necessary since 
Fortran does not use subroutines 
as Basic does, and they must all 
be moved to the end of the For- 
tran program. Again, when there 
is a short list or no list, the page 
is headed and wasted. 

The third part of the printout 
is the Fortran program. It is neat 
and clean and there is plenty of 
room in which to write editing 
notes. There are no problems 
with the printout, but the con- 
tent is another story. 

I've been picky so far, but it 
gets worse. A DO loop is the For* 
tran version of a Basic 
For . , . Next loop and is used in 
the same way. But, the transla- 
tor's DO loop is not correct. It 
must be edited to correct format. 

All the translator does is 
change the word "FOR" to "DO" 



and the word "next" to "con- 
tinue." If the original 
For. . . Next loop has a subrou- 
tine branch nested in the loop, it 
will be lost and the logical flow of 
the program must be adjusted or 
the Fortran program will not run 
correctly. 

Another important considera- 
tion is compatibility with the 
Fortran compiler. The translator 
produces text in Fortran form. It 
inserts C lines (REM in Basic), 
and it prints in an easy-to-read 
form with room for manual 
editing on the page. The disk 
output is the same text that is on 
the printer— it will not work in 
the TRS-80 (Microsoft) Fortran 
compiler. 

There are many more prob- 
lems. Text lines are cut off and 
write lines become doubled with 
text format lines. Even if you 
could get a working program out 
of the translator, you should con- 
sider one more warning. The 
translator does not approach effi- 
cient use of Fortran. Microsoft 
Fortran is about 60 times faster 
than Disk Basic. The benefit of 
faster Fortran is lost if you do 
not use it efficiently. 

The translator does have some 
value. It aids in reducing typing 
time, and it provides a Fortran 
format for the Basic program 
that is a skeleton starting point. 
It aids in following the logic of a 
Basic program that you are 
rewriting. 

One final word— I have only 
pointed out the major problems 
that occurred in the translation 
of short Basic programs. The 
problems are extensive and 
would be insurmountable to a 
programmer without Fortran 
knowledge. I shudder to think 
what problems might occur in 
the translation of an extensive 



213 



UTILITIES 



Basic program. But, if you write 
the original Basic program 
carefully, you might eliminate 
some of the translation 
problems. 

(The Management, P.O. Box T, 
Aledo, TX 76008, could not be 
reached for an update.) 

Richard McGarvey 
May 1981 



Generalized Subroutine 

Facility 

Racet Computes 

Model I, II, and III 

Generalized Subroutine Facili- 
ty (GSF) provides utility 
subroutines that can be called 
from Basic. Loading is fair and 
the documentation is excellent. 
The subroutines are loaded into 
protected high memory and are 
available to the calling programs 
at all times. Each routine is 
numbered and is called with the 
Level II USR statement. The 
manual carefully explains each 
subroutine with a sample listing 
of a Basic program using that 
routine. All the example Basic 
programs are also recorded on 
the GSF tape with a menu to 
provide selection. I wish that all 
softwai-e gave the buyer this 
kind of demonstration. 

I only found two minor areas 
of complaint: The tape label says 
that protected memory should 
start at 29950, and the manual 
says 30000. It works great at 
30000. Also, no error-checking is 
done as far as addresses are con- 
cerned. 

GSF comes in 16K, 32K, and 
48K versions. If you buy the 16K 
version and later increase the 
size of your system, you can get 
a 32K or 48K version for $5. 1 
personally feel that all three ver- 



sions should be included on the 
original tape. In any case, I 
definitely recommend GSF as a 
good buy for anyone who is 
seriously writing his own 
programs. 

(GSF is sold by Racet Com- 
putes, 702 Palmdale, Orange, 
CA 92665. Model I, $25: Model 
III, $30: Model II, $50.) 

Rod Hallen 
January 1980 



Infinite Basic 



Lemodel 
Lacet Com' 
fiodel I 



Proloac 
utes 



Remodel and Proload, 
available in three versions (16K, 
32K, and 48K), load into the top 
of memory with the System 
command and use approximate- 
ly 3K. Also included are two 
well-written manuals. The pro- 
gram comes on a high-quality 
cassette, loads without hitch, 
and can be easily transferred to 
disk or stringy floppy. 

Remodel (REnumber MOve 
DELete) gives complete freedom 
in renumbering any portion of a 
Basic program (or the entire pro- 
gram) and in moving or deleting 
sections of Basic code (either a 
line or a complete subroutine) at 
will. About the only restriction 
on this freedom is that Remodel 
and Proload will not execute a 
command to overwrite an ex- 
isting line. 

The command format is sim- 
ple and straightforward, and it 
returns to the command input 
state after executing each com- 
mand. Exit and reentry are also 
uncomplicated. 



219 

mm a ff 



SOFTWARE 



Remodel and Proload en- 
courage structured program- 
ming. The program is divided in- 
to two major parts: a control sec- 
tion consisting of a loop that 
calls in sequence the relevant 
subroutines via GOSUB 
statements, and a list of 
subroutines that make up the 
body of the program. Proload 
creates a library of useful 
general and special purpose 
routines that can then be ap- 
pended or merged into your ap- 
plication program as needed. 
Remodel and Proload have in- 
creased my productivity at least 
threefold. 

Infinite Basic comes in two 
versions (cassette and disk) on a 
high-quality cassette, and in- 
cludes two well- written, com- 
plete manuals. Infinite Basic has 
a system module as well as 
several application modules. 

With so many functions 
available not all of them are 
loaded into RAM at once. You 
must first select the functions for 
a particular application program, 
and, with the systems module, 
create a machine-language load 
module containing these desired 
functions. This load module can 
reside at almost any memory 
location and is saved separately 
on cassette, disk, or wafer. When 
reloaded, the load module pro- 
vides the desired functions. 

The Infinite Basic functions 
run considerably faster and are 
more compact than similar Level 
II Basic subroutines. Moreover, 
the machine language load 
modules can be stored in Basic 
statements. Thus, the modified 
load module can be selectively 
loaded and saved by Proload as 
well as becoming a permanent 
part of the user's application 
program. 



The Matrix I/O group is ex- 
tremely efficient because it 
operates on entire blocks or ar- 
rays. This speeds up data input 
and output at least twofold. The 
Infinite Basic Matrix package 
also contains a generalized 
subroutine call and return 
function. 

The Infinite Basic string 
package uses a number of func- 
tions to compress and decom- 
press strings and data from 8 
bits per character to 4, 5, 6, 
or 7 bits, and pack and 
unpack character strings by 
special encoding of repeated 
characters. Appropriate use of 
these functions lets you store 
more data in memory than you 
could otherwise. String transla- 
tion functions, as well as others, 
are supported. Finally, the sort- 
ing functions of Infinite Basic are 
extremely powerful, flexible, and 
fast (30 times faster than the 
fastest sorts in Basic). 

In a nutshell. Infinite Basic 
confers upon your Level II ROMs 
a considerable degree of exten- 
sibility. 

(Rocet Computes, 702 Palm- 
dale, Orange, CA 92665; 
Remodel and Proload, Model I 
and III $35; Infinite Basic, Model 
I $50, Model III $60.) 

Maurice M. Small 
September 1981 



■^ ■^ -^ -^ 

KEEPIT 2.0 

The Alternate Source (TAS) 

Model I 

For those unable to Justify the 
added expense of moving up to 
disk operation, there is now 
available a very underrated pro- 
gram that could make serious 



220 



UTILITIES 



applications on the Model I a 
whole lot easier. 

KEEPIT is a utility program 
that packs a lot of power into 
less than IK of machine code. 
One of its features is the inclu- 
sion of the KBEEPFIX routine 
which provides keyboard de- 
bounce, automatic character 
repeat (after a short delay) when 
a key is held depressed, and an 
audible beep at the cassette out- 
put port each time a keystroke is 
entered. 

The following feature is the 
real workhorse of the program 
because it allows Basic programs 
to be saved in the middle of a 
run with all its variables intact. 
Here's how it works: At 
whatever point you want to save 
your program, you press Break. 
Set up the cassette to record the 
program, then type the com- 
mand: SAVE/RUN "PROGRM". 

What happens is: The Basic 
program is reloaded, along with 
all variables, systems pointers, 
and the KEEPIT program itself; 
even the video display is 
restored just as it was. Only free 
space (memory not used during 
execution of the program) will 
not be affected. You simply con- 
tinue your Basic program right 
where you left off! 

Such a feature can be used to 
debug new programs by saving 
a program at various points 
throughout a run, thus allowing 
you to go back and reconstruct 
what was happening in the logic 
flow of the program just before 
the crash. 

You may be wondering if you 
can execute the SAVE/RUN com- 
mand from within the program. 
It is possible, but it will be the 
last statement executed in the 
program, and you must use cau- 
tion. Another feature of KEEPIT 



is the machine code monitor. 
Typing: *OPEN "NNNN" where 
NNNN is replaced by an address 
in hexadecimal, displays 16 
bytes of memory beginning with 
the specified address. The bytes 
are displayed in hex with their 
associated ASCII characters 
displayed on the next line. 

The final command, *NEW, 
restores a Basic program that 
has been wiped out accidentally 
by typing NEW. 

KEEPIT is supplied on cassette 
with both the SYSTEM (object) 
program and the editor- 
assembler format source code. It 
is compatible with other special- 
command routines, such as the 
Exatron Stringy-Floppy routines. 
If you don't have a disk system, 
KEEPIT may prove to be one 
of the most useful utilities 
you own. 

(The Alternate Source [TAS], 
704 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Lan- 
sing, MI 48906; $9.95.) 

Jack Decker 
December 1980 



Level I in Level II RAM 

Apparat Inc. 
Model I 

This program makes your 
Level II Basic system act as 
though it is a Level I Basic 
machine. It is written in 
machine language and occupies 
about 4.3K bytes of memory 
space at the upper end of your 
Level II 16K-byte memory bank, 
leaving almost 12K bytes of 
memory for use by any Level I 
program you want to run. 

Level I in Level II RAM comes 
without any supporting docu- 
mentation. However, all you 
need to know is written in seven 



221 



SOFTWARE 



words and symbols on a label 
attached to the cassette's ship- 
ping box. 

After you load the program, 
your system will operate in Level 
I Basic, so you don't have access 
to the convenient editing func- 
tions that Level II Basic provides. 
The program lets you load suc- 
cessive Level I Basic programs 
into your computer without hav- 
ing to be reloaded. 

I have uncovered two minor 
problems that I attribute to my 
having loaded the program with 
my recorder's volume set too 
low. One of my programs con- 
tained a line that used A$ and 
B$ separated by a colon. The B$ 
string was continually shortened 
even though it consisted of less 
than the allowed 16 characters. I 
moved B$ to a separate program 
line and had no more problems. 

Another problem involved my 
use of the ON N GOTO state- 
ment. Since the problem didn't 
appear anj/where else in that 




program or other programs, I 
assume the problem was self- 
induced. 

I have heard that Level I in 
Level II RAM will not accept pro- 
grams written in machine 
language, but I was unable to 
test for this. 

I'm pleased to have the 
capability that Apparat's pro- 
gram provides. The price was 
right, and the program's opera- 
tion has been better than 
satisfactory. 

(Apparat Inc., 4401 S. Tamarac 
Parkway, Denver, CO 80237. 
Level I in Level 11 is no longer 
available.} 

Sherman R. Wantz 
March 1980 



Line JRemimbering 
Software Associates 
Model I 

Line Renumbering renumbers 
Basic program lines and allows 
the loading of more than one 
program at a time (merging). It 
loads fairly well and the 
documentation is excellent. The 
tape contains 16K, 32K, and 
48K versions, which will all 
work with Level II or disk. This 
is a machine-language program 
that resides in high memory. It 
can be called from Basic at any 
time by using the System com- 
mand. This is the type of ap- 
plications software that the per- 
sonal computer owner needs. It 
is a shame that this was left out 
of Level II Basic. 
(Line Renumbering, once sold 
by Software Associates, P.O, 
Box 2248, Springfield, VA 
22152, is no longer available.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 



^mmmmm 



UTILITIES 



Master Control 

Soft Sector Marketing 

Color Computer 

Master Control is a tape 
cassette program for redefining 
Color Computer key ftmctions. 
The cassette is accompanied by 
an instruction leaflet that is brief 
but sufficient. The purchaser at- 
taches an overlay to the com- 
puter's keyboard surface. 

Master Control is written in 
machine language and is 
relocatable. You invoke it with 
the Exec command. To use any 
of the new key definitions, press 
the down arrow, which serves as 
the special shift key; control is 
not toggled. 

Some of the functions of the 
redefined keys require Extended 
Color Basic. You can combine 
them with individual letters to 
cut down the number of key- 
strokes for other commands. A 
few keys do multiple jobs, mak- 
ing use of the regular shift key. 

Space constraints make some 
of the notations on the keyboard 
overlay rather cryptic. This 
ceases to be a problem after a 
short time. 

Master Control operation is not 
as cumbersome as it sounds. It 
takes a little while to get used to 
the new command positions, but 
in return you save considerable 
time and effort in program entry. 
You can avoid an awful lot of 
repetitive typing. 

I would make minor changes, 
though. Master Control incon- 
sistently includes opening paren- 
theses with some commands. 
Similarly, it does not seem 
especially worthwhile to have in- 
cluded Print in Master Control's 
repertoire when the Color Basics 
already have a two-stroke ab- 



breviation for it. 

(Soft Sector Marketing, P.O. Box 
340, Garden City, MI 48135: 
Version 2.0 $19.95 cassette. 
$24.95 disk.) 

Scott L. Norman 
March 1982 



Master Directory 1.1 
Micro-Systems Software 
Model I and III 

MASDIR 1.1, from Micro- 
Systems Software, helped 
organize all of my disks and 
files. Now finding a particular 
disk is hassle-free. 

This program requires one or 
more disk drives. Wfien loaded, 
the data query flashes on the 
screen, and the date entered is 
appended to all directory files 
entered in this session. This date 
is also used in the heading of the 
printout, if requested. 

MASDIR tallies the number of 
disks and the total number of 
files entered in the upper-right 
comer of the screen. Once 
entered, the directory entries can 
be recalled to the screen or 
printer in one of the following 
fonnats: an individual disk direc- 
tory, by assigned disk name or 
number, a master listing of all 
disks in rmmerical order, or 
alphabetical order, and a listing 
of all files with a common ex- 
tension. 

Although at first it seems that 
these folks thought of 
everything, the program does 
have a few faults. There is no 
provision for anything other 
than the standard Radio Shack 
parallel-port printer. Also, you 
cannot modify the internal print 
format in case you want other 



223 



SOFTWARE 



than 66 lines per page and some 
directory files written by 
NEWDOS 80 can't be read or 
listed by MASDIR. In addition, 
MASDIR won't read directories 
formatted for CP/M. 

All things considered, this pro- 
gram is one of the most useful in 
my entire library. At every com- 
puter session, the first and last 
program I use is MASDIR 1 . 1. 
First, I use it to find the file that I 
want to work on, and when I am 
finished, I delete and reenter the 
disks that I have updated during 
the session. 

(Micro-Systems Software, 
4301-18 Oak Circle, Boca 
Raton, FL 33431 . Master Direc- 
tory 1.1 is no longer being 
marketed.) 

James B. Penny 
April 1981 

T^ * ^ * 

Maxprint 
Peggytronics 
Model I or III 

Designed for use with Models I 
and III, 32K or 48K with one 
disk, Maxprint is a printer-driver 
utility consisting of over 3K of 
Z80 Assembly language. It offers 
support of all MX-80 print styles, 
total control from text, partial 
control from menu, proportional 
justification, underlines, sub- 
scripts, superscripts, horizontal 
centering, and line spacing 
(1/72-inch increments). 

Two features of the package 
are very impressive. First, it 
comes with a manual that con- 
tains approximately 40 pages of 
usable instruction material with 
most of the special print com- 
mands listed on the back cover. 
Second, the source code for both 
the Scripsit conversion as well as 



Maxprint itself is printed in the 
instruction manual. 

Although Maxprint was 
created primarily for use with 
Scripsit, it can be used with 
other word-processing programs; 
you need only advise Peg- 
gytronics prior to purchase what 
your system is. 

Maxprint is a powerful, easy- 
to-use utility. My biggest prob- 
lem came when trying to 
understand how to combine it 
with my DOS; the manual could 
have been more helpful if it had 
included a step-by-step pro- 
cedure. 

The only thing that disap- 
pointed me involved the hard- 
ware. Certain cables (mine) 
make it necessary to break into 
one of the pins and add a SPST 
switch to allow Maxprint to call 
for its own line feeds. 

However, if you own an Epson 
MX-80, use it for word process- 
ing, and want to get everything 
out of the printer that it was 
designed for, look into Maxprint. 
(Peggytronics, 381 First St., 
Suite 5147, Los Altos, CA 
94022; $27.95.) 

E. M. Collins 
October 1982 



■^ ^ -^ 1/2 
Newtalk 
Star-Kits 
Color Computer 

Newtalk is an ingenious addi- 
tion to the toolkit of anyone do- 
ing machine- or Assembly- 
language programming on a 
6800 or 6809 system, including 
the Color Computer. Peter 
Stark's Newtalk is a memory- 
examination utility with audio 
readout. It is not a full-featured 
monitor but a helpful assistant 



224 



UTILITIES 



for such chores as comparing 
the actual contents of memory 
with printed listings. 

Newtalk is written in 
relocatable machine code, and 
the brief manual contains com- 
plete details for putting the pro- 
gram an3rwhere in memory. It 
goes much further, in fact, and 
includes a complete Assembly 
listing— a commendable gesture 
at a time when some vendors are 
reluctant to supply data needed 
for making legitimate back-ups. 

Newtalk requires Just over 
6,500 bytes. The speech samples 
are not synthesized from 
scratch, but are derived from ac- 
tual voice recordings by sam- 
pling and storing the zero- 
crossings of the audio 
waveforms. The resulting in- 
telligibility is quite good, 
although a price is paid in the 
amount of memory required. 
Newtalk can use this technique 
because of its limited 
vocabulary. 

The male voice is quite in- 
telligible, although some 
characters are rather buzzy; the 
fact that you know the limits of 
its vocabulary undoubtedly 
helps. The quality is con- 
siderably higher than that of 
Spectral Associates' Compuvoice 
synthesizer, for example, 
although not as good as that 
from the Votrax chip used in 
Type 'N Talk and some other 
hardware synthesizers. By 
changing the contents of a par- 
ticular delay counter location, 
you can alter the pitch of 
Newtalk's voice. 

Newtalk is something of a 
novelty and should not replace a 
real monitor. By itself, it doesn't 
have a facility for altering the 
contents of a memory location. I 
have found it useful, however, to 



help follow machine code 
entered from the keyboard. 

Newtalk has proven to be of 
real value in reading out code to 
me while I follow the listing. It is 
much faster and more pleasant 
than visually scarming from 
printed page to video screen. If 
you think this sounds like a con- 
venient way to work, and if you 
can spare the 6,500 bytes, then 
pick up a copy. 
(Star-Kits, P.O. Box 209, Mt. 
Kisco, NY 10549; $20.) 

Scott L. Norman 
October 1982 



•^ "^ "^ 
OBJREL 
Hubert S. Howe 
Model I 

OBJREL is an object-code 
relocator that moves a block of 
object code from one memory 
location to another. It changes 
memory references within a pro- 
gram as long as they are easily 
discernible as addresses and fall 
within the boundaries of the pro- 
gram being moved. Tables of 
addresses are not changed. 
OBJREL is a useful program for 
the Assembly-language pro- 
grammer. 

(Huberts. Howe, 14 Lexington 
Road, New City, NY 10956. OB- 
JREL is now part ofMON-3, 4. 
and 5.) 

Rod Hallen 
February 1980 



•^ ■^ -^ -y^ 

Packer 1.5 
Cottage Software 
Model I and III 

Packer 1.5 is a machine- 



225 



language program that enhances 
Model I or Model III Basic with or 
without disks. It is especially 
helpful to non-disk owners since 
it provides some commands not 
found in other nondisk systems. 

This utility's commands in- 
elude: Short, which packs the 
resident Basic program by 
removing unnecessary words, 
spaces, and remark statements; 
Unpack, which breaks the pro- 
gram into single-statement lines, 
places spaces between all data 
statements, and also between 
almost every keyword in Basic 
(resulting in a very neat-looking 
program, though somewhat less 
efficient, and consuming a great 
deal more memory); Pack, which 
condenses the program as much 
as possible, making it highly 
memory-efficient; Renum, which 
renumbers your program; and 
Move, which moves any block of 
program lines to any place. 

Anyone frustrated with the 
limitations of Basic should con- 
sider Packer for his software 
library. It is easy to use, well 
documented, and for the money, 
the best utility I have bought for 
my TRS-80. 

(Cottage Software, 614 N. Hard- 
ing, Wichita, KS 67208; Model I 
and III, two cassettes $29.95.) 

Tim Knight 
June/July 1982 



"A" "A' /2 
Programmer 
Rational Software 
Model I 



commands to Basic. Pressing 
shift and break brings up the 
PRO prompt and allows the user 
to delete, move a block, pack a 
program into less space, or ap- 
pend from tape. 

The renumbering routine lets 
the user pick where the 
renumbering should start, what 
the line should be, what the in- 
crement should be, and at what 
old line number you should stop. 
It does these well. The rest of the 
utility is, unfortunately, flawed. 

Pack is supposed to remove all 
spaces not in a string, delete all 
remarks, and if a reference is 
made to a deleted line, update 
the reference. The problem oc- 
curs when two or more lines are 
in sequence- Only the first is 
deleted. 

Move inserts a block of Basic 
text, designated by starting and 
ending line numbers, into 
another location, also designated 
by line numbers. It deletes the 
moved text and renumbers it in 
its new location. It will not 
renumber the program to make 
room for the lines to be inserted. 
According to the documentation, 
if there isn't room, an error 
message is generated. 

I hope Rational can repair the 
shortcomings of this package, as 
it promises to be extremely 
useful. 

(Rational Software, Pasadena, 
CA, could not he reached for an 
update.) 

Dennis Thurlow 
January 1981 



Programmer is a machine- 
language utility that fits into the QEDIT 
top 1 .4K of memory and adds (See Page 206) 



226 



UTILITIES 



•^ ^ ^ y2 

QSD Utility Disk #1— LDOS 

5.0.2 

Quality Software 

Distributors 

Model I 

The utilities in this collection 
range from the trivial to the 
how-did-I-get-along-without-it. 
Many were written by some of 
the heavies in the home com- 
puting field: Kim Watt, Earle 
Robinson, and Tim Maim. 

DIRLOWER/FIX gives the 
Model I upper- and lowercase in- 
stead of all caps. Two additional 
patches, STATUS/FIX and 
KSMSTAT/FIX, modify the 
device command to show what 
special functions, such as double 
density and the keystroke 
multiply filter, are active; a 
fourth utility, the stand-alone 
STAT/CMD, does about the 
same thing but includes a report 
on what disk drives are ready. 
(There is a mistake in the 
documentation; the proper 
password for the /FIX programs 
is GSLTD, not .RRW3.) 

RESCUE/CMD permits resur- 
recting killed files that have not 
been overwritten, giving a nifty 
little directory of the killed files 
for Y/N selection for saving and 
indicating whether a file is par- 
tially overwritten. Unlike most of 
the programs on this disk, it 
works only in single density. For 
would-be speed typists there is 
DVORAK/CMD to remap the 
TRS-80 as a Dvorak keyboard 
{see 80 Micro, December 1980). 

Things go uphill rapidly from 
here. BINHEX/CMD puts binary 
data into hexadecimal format 
and back again. CHANGE/CMD 
is a drive-routing program. 
CLONE/CMD allows, as its name 
implies, copying files. You can 



make single-drive copies on 
drives other than drive 0. Some 
disk swapping is required, but 
not as much as with the XFER 
command. 

If you need to justify the cost 
of utility disks, DCAL/CMD 
shows exact and smoothed 
speeds for calibrating disk-drive 
operation. Two filter programs 
could be useful for printing: UP- 
CASE/FLT converts all lower- 
case output (which some 
printers cannot handle) to upper- 
case, and ADDLF/FLT adds a 
line feed after a carriage return, 
again something that a few 
printers look for. 

VDISK/CMD verifies the 
readability of a disk's sectors on 
a given drive, providing a quick 
check of disk quality and some 
information useful for fixing 
things up with LZAP/CMD. 

If your disk arrives with 
everything glitched except 
LZAP, LPURGE, and LCOPY, 
you got more than your money's 
worth. Kim Watt's LCOPY and 
LPURGE work in single density; 
Frank Luffs LZAP works equal- 
ly well in single or double. 

LCOPY's main virtue is that it 
solves LDOS' slowness problem 
when doing multiple file copies. 
It is versatile, allowing prompted 
selection for copying system 
files, visible files, or all files; set- 
ting step speed on the destina- 
tion disk; prompting for disk 
mounts; and offering a help file if 
you get puzzled. 

For cleaning up a disk, use 
LPURGE. It has a super advan- 
tage—everything is done in 
memory until a specific com- 
mand is issued to rewrite the 
directory to reflect the purge. 
Until then, you can change your 
mind and all is forgiven (and 
saved). 



227 



SOFTWARE 



LZAP does for LDOS much of 
what Superzap does for 
NEWDOS80, plus a few things 
that Superzap should do but 
does not. It allows direct entry to 
debug and return to LZAP. It 
finds and goes straight to the 
directory, no matter what 
cylinder (track) it is on. It finds 
the location of a file from its 
directory line, generates hash 
codes for files, removes 
passwords, searches an entire 
sector for a hex byte, and, like 
Superzap, allows corrections to 
be made, byte by byte. If its 
error-trapping mechanism is 
shut off (which also cancels 
some of the more useful 
automatic functions such as 
searches), LZAP can read some 
otherwise unreadable disks, in- 
cluding ones with zapped boot 
tracks. 

(Quality Software Distributors is 
now named Powersoft, 1 1500 
Stemmons Expressway, Suite 
125, Dallas, TX 75229. An up- 
dated version of The Toolbox for 
the Model I and III sells for 
$69.95. A hard-disk version is 
also available. The Master 
Mechanic, comprising the 
Toolbox's most used utilities, is 
sold for $39.95.) 

George Bond 
April 1982 



■^ ■^ -^ 

Quill Driver; A Text- 
Formatting Program 
The Alternate &jurce 
Model I and ID 

Quill Driver is not a word pro- 
cessor; it is a text formatter. This 
information and its ramifications 
are not explicitly laid out in its 
documentation, and this can 
lead you to believe Quill Driver is 



actually a word processor. 

I spent two frustrating hours 
reading through the manual, 
waiting to find some reference to 
input. When I reached the end, it 
occurred to me that the manual 
would make much more sense 
read back to front. The last 
chapter contains the operating 
instnictions for the program. 

The program, which is written 
in Basic, performs all the stan- 
dard word-processing functions 
when printing, is amazingly ver- 
satile, and works perfectly with 
files prepared in the methods 
described in Appendices A and B 
of the manual. 

It had some trouble keeping 
track of the .AL counters in 
EDTASM-prepared text. Normal- 
ly, it lets you switch back 
and forth between two files of 
text opened simultaneously. 
This is great for typing form let- 
ters while adding a different 
heading or personalized com- 
ments on each. 

Once you figure out how to 
use Quill Driver, you will be 
delighted at how well it works. 
But please, read the documenta- 
tion backwards. 
(The Alternate Source, 704 N. 
Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing, MI 
48906; $39.95 disk.) 

Dennis Thurlow 
May 1981 



'^ '^ "^ 

Remodel-Proload 
Racet Computes 
Model I or III 

Remodel-Proload can do 
several tasks for you. Besides 
renumbering program lines 
selectively, it searches the pro- 
gram and renumbers all line 



228 



UTILITIES 



references. It can also move sec* 
tions of your program. 

One disadvantage of Remodel 
is the space it puts before and 
after a changed line number. 
This is bothersome if you want a 
tightly-packed program for 
speedy loading and execution. 
To correct this, go through the 
program with the "nD" editing 
command and eliminate the ex- 
tra spaces. 

Proload lets you merge a 
subroutine with your main pro- 
gram. Dump the subroutine onto 
tape, load in your main program, 
and indicate where the new 
material must be read into your 
program. Tell the Proload sec- 
tion what you want and load the 
subroutine tape. If the space in- 
dicated is clear, the two pro- 
grams will merge. 

The instructions for Remodel 
don't explain that when you hit 
clear after loading Remodel, you 
must type the command letter 
by letter, not with the clear key. 
Using the key gives an OM error 
when loading the program tape. 
Otherwise, the manual is concise 
and well- written. 
(Racet Computes, 702 Palm- 
dale, Orange, CA 92655; $35.) 
Charles Leedham 
March 1980 



Remodel /Proload 
(See Page 219) 



■^ -^ ^ V2 
Renumber 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

Renumber is a machine- 
language tape, available for 4K, 
16K, 32K, and 48K memories. It 



is a simple aid for programmers 
who need to make changes in 
their line numbers. 

The program asks you what 
line number you want to start 
with, what the new number of 
that line should be, and what in- 
terval you want for the re- 
mainder of the renumbered pro- 
gram. Renumber makes the 
changes quickly and also 
renumbers every reference to 
the old line numbers. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $9.95.) 

Charles Leedham 
March 1980 



RPM 

(See Page 215) 

•^ ^ ^ 

Search and Sort 
Micro Pro Systems 
Model I and III 

Search and Sort is a set of 
machine-language modules that 
can easily be called from a Basic 
program. They perform several 
related tasks essential in any 
program handling data files. 

This utility lets you search 
through sorted lists of strings for 
a specific string. If the target 
string is found, the program 
returns a value corresponding to 
the string's position. If it is not 
found, you have the option of in- 
serting it in its proper place. You 
can also sort a string or numeric 
array in ascending or descend- 
ing order. 

The documentation briefly 
describes how routines are called 
from Basic through the USR 
function and then refers you to 
the sample Basic program that is 
provided on tape or disk. 






SOFTWARE 



I do have a few reservations 
about Search and Sort's sample 
program. Since there is no 
listing of the program supplied, 
if you don't have a printer, you 
must decipher it from the 
screen. This can be a tedious 
chore because the code is not 
formatted to be easily read. Also. 
I don't feel it should be used as a 
substitute for amply-written 
documentation. It would have 
been helpful to have included a 
simple application or two. 

Search and Sort is an excellent 
utility package which can be 
used very profitably by both ad- 
vanced and, with a bit of strug- 
gling, beginning programmers. I 
recommend it. 

(Micro Pro Systems, Route 2. Box 
533, Cumming, GA 30130, 
$11.95 cassette. $13.95 disk.) 

Joel Benjamin 
August 1982 



■^ -^ ^ 1/2 

Snapp II! 

Extended Built-in Functions 

•^ '^ ^ ^ 

Snapp I¥ Auto Map 
Snappware Inc. 
Model II or III 

Snappware Inc.'s Extended Ba- 
sic Enhancements solved some of 
the more frustrating problems 
with the Model II Basic Inter- 
preter. But not all of them. Slow 
sorting routines sometimes took 
30 minutes to process all the ar- 
rays in my programs. Enter 
Snapp III Extended built-in func- 
tions. Among others, they in- 
clude an incredible sort routine 
that uses no disk or high 
memory space. (When installed 
in a Model III, it requires a few 



hundred bytes of memory and 
disk space.) 

The sorting speed is im- 
pressive. An array that Basic fills 
in 52 seconds, Snapp III sorts in 
36 seconds. 

This utility's functions include 
the following: XTIM$ calculates 
the difference between two time 
strings; ETIMSS calculates the 
difference between two time 
strings; DATES requires a 
number of string functions and 
gives you the date. None of the 
Snapp functions require a DEF 
FN statement. 

VIDEO$ allows you to read In- 
formation directly from the video 
display with the syntax FN 
VIDEOS (row, column, number 
of characters to be read). 

I use the ID$ function to be 
sure that our software users in- 
sert the proper disks into each 
drive. For example, PRINT FN 
ID$(2) displays the name of the 
disk in drive 2. 

The FN Files command 
returns the number of buffers 
allocated for disk I/O. Snapp III 
also provides expanded error 
messages. If you entered Basic 
with only two files reserved for 
disk I/O and then attempted to 
open a file to buffer these, you 
would get the following error 
statement: Bad File Number (52) 
?BN Error. Normally Model II 
Basic only displays ?BN Error. 
SCMD "LMSGOFF" returns the 
error messages to their normal 
state, while SCMD "LMSGON" 
displays error messages in 
Snapp's long form. 

Snapp's FN MAX returns the 
largest value from your supplied 
list, and FN MIN returns the 
smallest value from your list. It 
converts all supplied values to 
double precision; it selects the 
largest or smallest, then it con- 



misa'^i^^a^ 



UTILITIES 



verts to the numeric type that 
you request. 

The functions FNUC$ and 
FNLC$ take a given string ex- 
pression and convert each byte 
to upper- or lowercase. 

FN FMT$ arranges data into a 
string variable in the same man- 
ner as Basic's Print Using. If you 
enter PRINT FN FMT$C 'GOOD- 
BYE— "; 10), the screen 
displays the following: GOOD- 
BYE 10. Any programmer who 
manipulates numbers and mixes 
them with strings for printing or 
storage will soon find himself 
saving a tremendous amount of 
computer time and memory 
space by using FMT$. 

For those of you who can't 
stand programming without 
PEEKing or POKEing to the in* 
nards of TRSDOS or Basic. 
Snapp provides FN PEEK (n) and 
FN POKE (n). 

OPEN "E" allows you to open 
a sequential file and add to it. 
SCMD "RUN" lets you run a 
new program from Basic and 
allocate a different number of 
buffers for data going to and 
from the disk. SCMD "CLEAR" 
sets file buffer space, string 
space, and/or memory size, all 
while running a program. 
Another command, SCMD 
"ERASE", can be used if you 
need more memory space while 
your program is running; it 
eliminates all arrays. SCMD 
"ROW" allows you to protect a 
portion of the screen from 
scrolling. 

With SCMD "VDOFF" you can 
completely turn off the video 
display, which spares you from 
seeing the flickering and streak- 
ing during extensive updates. To 
turn the video back on, type 
SCMD "VDON". SCMD "CUR- 
SOR" lets you change the blink 



rate and the size of the cursor, or 
remove it altogether. 

I thought that I had seen it all 
from Snapp until I received their 
Extended Basic mapping Sup- 
port, Snapp IV. Consider writing 
a program that opens a sequen- 
tial file and inputs up to 99 
items, prints all 99 items on the 
screen with prompts, inputs 
changes to any or all of these 
items (or fields), and rewrites the 
updated file. 

Reading or writing files is 
easy, but with 99 print 
statements, 99 prompts, and 99 
input statements, I hope that 
you have a 64K Model II and 
plenty of time! With Auto Map 
you can do all of the above 
and more. 

A program called Gener- 
ate/BAS develops the screen 
display which will be used in 
your program. It also assigns 
each piece of data to a field with 
its own attributes. The attributes 
include the row and column of 
the display and a caption, which 
is the same as a prompt in an in- 
put statement. (You can display 
the caption and/or data in 
reverse video if desired.) 

Field length defines the m£ix- 
imum number of characters to 
be displayed or accepted from 
the keyboard. You can also pro- 
tect the field, which means that 
you cannot modify its data from 
the keyboard. 

The next attribute is the 
variable name. This can be a 
simple variable, a subscripted 
variable, or it can contain an ex- 
pression such as J%(I f K + 5). 
When the variable is numeric 
rather than string, Generate/BAS 
asks if you would like to accept 
only positive numbers, and 
allows you to specify a limit to 
the number of decimal places. 



231 



SOFTWARE 



When you're creating a screen, 
Generate/BAS displays a prompt, 
line on the bottom of the video 
display giving you all the current 
options. These normally include 
<A>dding a new field, <I>nsert- 
ing and <E>diting a field. 
<N>ext moves the cursor to the 
next field. <P>revious moves the 
cursor to the previous field. 
<D>elete discards a field. 
<S>ave saves the current screen 
to a file named earlier. 

After you set the field's posi- 
tions, the arrow keys will move 
any field to a new location. This 
makes designing a professional 
screen display very easy. 

The screen and field attributes 
can be accessed from your pro- 
gram using SCMD "SEND". Any 
unfilled data areas contain a 
series of small graphic blocks 
showing where you can enter 
data. The cursor does not appear 
until SCMD "RECEIVE" is en- 
countered, at which point it 
jumps to the beginning of the 
first or any selected field. 

If you enter the last allowable 
character in a field, the cursor 
jumps to the first character in 
the next field. 

The tab key moves the cursor 
to the next field while Escape is 
a "back tab." The up arrow acts 
as an express back tab, moving 
the cursor to the first character 
in the previous line, while the 
down arrow is an express tab to 
the first field in the next row. 

While entering string data, use 
the arrow keys to position the 
cursor over a character that 
needs correcting. There is no 
need to retype the line. 

Enter, Fl or F2 takes you out 
of the data-entry mode and ends 
SCMD "RECEIVE". The first 
time I used Auto Map I was 
amazed. I designed a screen that 



input and printed latitude and 
longitude in degrees, minutes, 
and seconds; an identification 
string; a date and time; and a 
special fifteen-character serial 
number, all with no errors. Up* 
dating this information from my 
files is surprisingly easy with 
Snapp's cursor controls. 

Try the software yourself. I'm 
sure you'll wonder how you ever 
got along without it. 
(Snappware Inc., 3719Mantell, 
Cincmnati, OH 45236; Snapp III 
Model II version $1 00, Model III 
version $75, Snapp IV Auto 
Map Model II version $1 00, 
Model III version $75.) 

Rick Lederman 
January 1982 



•^ ^ -^ ^ 

Snapp V Extended File 
Mapping Support 
Snappware Inc. 
Model I, II, and HI 

Snappware Inc. uses the new 
verb SCMD (Snapp Command) 
to implement their version of the 
Get and Put statements that 
eliminate the need for LSET, 
RSET, MKS$, and CVI. 

Rather than use Basic's con- 
version statements and Field, 
you need only give the proper 
SCMD and your variable names 
that appear in your program. 
The variable names may even 
appear in string form; Extended 
File Mapping Support takes care 
of the rest. 

Snapp V gives you a new data 
type, the 1-byte integer that 
can have a value from 0-255. 
This helps you to pack data that 
won't exceed the value of 255. 
[Snappware Inc., 371 9 Mantell, 
Cincinnati, OH 45236; $29 






UTILITIES 



Model I and III LDOS, $59 Model 
III TRSDOS, $75 Model II, $115 
Hard Disk.) 

Rick Lederman 
May 1982 

■^ "^ "^ "^ '^ 
Sole 
Misosys 
Model I 

Sole is the naine of a new soft- 
ware package from Misosys for 
use with LDOS, the Model I, and 
an appropriate double-density 
adapter. Sole eliminates the need 
for Model I double-density users 
under LDOS to use single- 
density disks throughout the en- 
tire booting process. 

The LDOS ROM bootstrap 
routine requires a disk be for- 
matted in single density. It 
doesn't under any circum- 
stances read a double-density 
disk. The way around this is to 
format cylinder in single densi- 
ty and the rest of the disk in 
double density. 

The problem is not solved by 
simply reformatting the track. 
The code loaded from the boot 
sector must be capable of 
reading double density, so a 
whole new boot routine must be 
written. In addition, SYSO must 
be stored in only one extent. 
Sole takes care of the boot code, 
and the documentation allows 
you to take care of the other 
easily. 

Once the disk is formatted in 
double density, a program called 
SOLEl runs on it, allocating the 
entire boot cylinder to the file 
BOOT/SYS. This ensures that no 
other file will occupy any part of 
cylinder since it will later be 
reformatted in single density. 
Then the single-density system 



disk is backed up to the double- 
density disk. A program called 
SOLE2 is run on the resulting 
disk. The result is a double- 
density disk that can be booted 
on the TRS-80 Model I. 

Now, this sounds like a lot of 
trouble, and it is. But it only 
needs to be done once. After you 
create the first double-density 
booting disk, you can file SOLEl 
away and forget it. To back up 
this disk, format a disk in the 
usual manner for double densi- 
ty, run S0LE2 on it, then use 
the back-up program in the nor- 
mal way. Your disk now has 70K 
more free space than before 
and on drive where you need 
it most. 

There is one bug in the Sole 
program system: You cannot 
back up a double-density 
System disk using only a single 
drive. If you have flippy disk 
drives you'll have to copy to 
another disk, and then copy it to 
the original's backside. This is a 
problem in the back-up utility 
rather than in Sole and presents 
no problem at all to owners of 
two or more drives. If you have a 
single-drive, double-density 
system, you can use LDOS in 
double density, but you'll have 
to borrow a drive to make back- 
ups of these system disks. 

The documentation is 
short— only three pages— but 
meets the high standards of 
LDOS documentation. It 
presents its subject lucidly and 
discusses the program's 
technical aspects in an 
understandable manner. 

Roy Soltoff is the author of 
Sole (he's also the author of 
LDOS) and he has certainly writ- 
ten a masterpiece. At this 
writing. Radio Shack's double- 
density adapter is not available 



&,o^ 



SOFTWARE 



for testing. LDOS intends to sup- 
port this adapter with a driver 
and there is no reason to believe 
Sole won't work correctly with 
that driver as well. 
(Misosys, 5904 Edgehill Drive, 
Alexandria, VA 22303: $25.) 

Charles Knight 
November 1982 



^ ^ ^ ^ 

Southeastern Textam 
Southeastern Software 
Model I 

The Southeastern Textan pro- 
vides editing features for writing 
E3asic programs on a cassette- 
based Model I, and Southeastern 
Software has a winner. From the 
well-written manual to the flaw- 
less execution of each and every 
command, this has to be one of 
the best packages I've seen. 

The editor is incredibly power- 
ful. The program gives you 24 
cursor-control commands that 
let you insert or delete 
characters, words, or lines of 
Basic, search for any character, 
replace any character, or load 
another program. 

In addition to text-handling 
features, there is an abbreviated 
keyboard. Pressing shift and any 
letter types a complete Basic 
command or statement. Com- 
plete error messages are dis- 
played on screen and thoroughly 
explained in the manual, and 
you can merge programs in the 
buffer. When you exit the editor, 
all text is fed to a compiler that 
returns it to Basic compression 
codes. 

This is a dream utility for the 
Basic programmer. 
(Southeastern Software, 512 
Conway Lane, Birmingham, AL 



35210, is no longer in business,) 

Dennis Thurlow 

October 1981 

"^ "^ "^ "Y 2 

Trakcess 
Roxton Baker 
The Alternate Source 
Model I 

To quote from the Trakcess 
manual, "Congratulations! You 
have Just purchased the most 
powerful TRS-80 disk-access 
utility yet written." The pro- 
gram's author, Roxton E^aker, 
credits William Barden's Disk In- 
terfacing Guide for the TRS-80 
as an inspiration for this pro- 
gram and recommends it to help 
you use Trakcess efficiently. 

The nonexpert should also 
have a copy of the data sheet on 
the 1771 floppy-disk controller 
chip. You can find a copy in the 
Expansion Interface service 
manual or obtain one from 
Western Digital or National 
Semiconductor. 

Trakcess requires a 48K 
TRS-80 Model I. The Copy and 
Duplicate commands require 
two disk drives. Printer output is 
available, but a printer is not 
necessary. 

The program is in two parts on 
the disk— Trakcess, a EJasic pro- 
gram, and Trakcess/CMD, a 
machine-language routine. 
Everything is menu-driven. 
Disk-related commands will not 
work until a drive is selected and 
activated. 

Trakcess lets you do several 
things with your disk. You can 
read into a specified block of 
memory, or write from it. You 
can take from or put to disk a 
whole track (about 3,120 bytes) 
in one operation. 



234 



UTILITIES 



Build is a powerful command. 
It lets you tailor a track to your 
own specifications, with no 
restrictions other than overall 
length. C will search the current 
track, build a matching format 
track in memory, then write it 
out to a target disk. E is a scroll- 
ing editor utility. With it, you 
can edit memory or fill memory 
between specified addresses with 
a specified byte. 

Trakcess is a good program; it 
works. Although it's not a 
replacement for Superzap or 
similar programs, you can use it 
for purposes other than copying. 
Besides that, it gives you a mini- 
education on the working of the 
disk controller and the various 
disk formats possible. 
(The Alternate Source, 704 N. 
Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing, MI 
48910; $24.95 J 

Ronald Bobo 
October 1981 



TSHORT 

Web Associates 

Model I 

TSHORT is an object file that 
loads into low memory and oc- 
cupies 562 bytes. It comes on a 
cassette with a program for 
Level II on one side and one for 
DOS on the other, 

TSHORT lets you enter 32 
Basic instruction words in a 
single uppercase keystroke. For 
example, pressing Q enters 
System, and pressing F enters 
LEFT$(. Pressing shift and 
the space bar puts you in the 
edit mode. 

A Kustom key lets you store 
up to 64 characters for use in 
entering the program. You can 
use any key, except break, in 
this string. Thereafter, the entire 



string can be recalled by typing 
shift K. 

This is handy for a subroutine 
or data line that you have to call 
often, a USR call, constructing a 
graphics block using CHR$, or 
entering a complex math state- 
ment that is used several times. 

Some options are also 
available. For a fee, Web will 
alter the program so it can be 
relocated to any point in high 
memory you specify. 

Complete instructions are 
given for DOS 2. 1,2.2, 
NEWDOS, and BASICR, and tlie 
package comes with the stan- 
dard warranty. 

(Web Associates, Monrovia, CA 
91016, could not be reached for 
an update.) 

John Adams 
April 1980 

-A" "A" "A" V2 
The Utility Pack 
B.T. Enterprises 
Model III 

The Utility Pack spooler works 
with DOSPLUS, NEWDOS + , 
NEWDOS80 Versions 1 and 2, 
DBLDOS, and TRSDOS in sin- 
gle and double density, with 
all different combinations of line 
lengths, page lengths, and buffer 
sizes. You can also feed the 
paper one line at a time from the 
keyboard by pressing the J and 
K keys together. Pressing the JL 
keys executes one top-of-form; 
JMN aborts an operation and 
clears the printer buffer. 

Older operating systems pre- 
viously unable to link printer 
output with video display can 
now do so by executing in Basic 
a PRINT CHR$(255). The spooler 
performs well with fast and slow 
printers. 



235 



SOFTWARE 



You also get three other pro- 
grams, Map, Cat, and Erase, on 
Sie same disk. They only work 
in single density. Map displays 
the disk's name, the date, and 
the number of free grans re- 
maining, with a detailed graph 
of the disk usage (showing an X 
where the granule Is used, a 
period for a free granule, and a 
hyphen for a locked-out 
granule). It will not show more 
tiian 40 tracks (only the first 40 
tracks on an 80-track system). 
The directory must be at the 
standard location (track 17). 

Cat, short for catalog, 
alphabetizes your directory 
before displaying it on the 
screen. This program has the 
same limitations as Map, except 
it reads the entire directory of an 
80-track drive. 

Erase gives you three different 
modes for killing files. All three 
are compatible with NEW- 
DOS80, only two are compatible 
with TRSDOS and NEWDOS + , 
and only one works with LDOS. 
Mode 1 works in double density. 

Included in the package is the 
source code for each file, for peo- 
ple with knowledge of Assembly 
language who might want to 
alter them. All these programs 
will benefit most computerists, 
and are well documented with 
many examples. The Utility 
Pack requires 48K. The Model I 
disk supplies both Mod I and 
Mod III versions. All programs 
on the Model III disk work in 
double and not single density. 
(B.T. Enterprises, 171 Hawkins 
Road, Centereach, NY 1 1 720. 
This utility is available for the 
Model I and III with 48Kfor 
$49.95.) 

Sal Navarro 
April 1982 



'*W' 'W' "W' "W" 

VARKEEP 

Circle J. Software Ranch 

Model I and III 

VARKEEP is an incredibly 
powerful extension of Basic that 
works with either cassette or 
disk. With it, it is possible to do 
many things without affecting 
data stored in arrays and 
variables. It also makes it possi- 
ble to instantly zero or null an 
array without time and memory 
consuming For . . . Next loops. 
Even more amazing, it now 
makes it possible to do the un- 
thinkable: string space allocation 
can be changed on the fly, with 
all stored data preserved without 
change. This is great help when 
a program presents a varying 
need for string space. 

Besides all the goodies just 
described, VARKEEP provides 
one additional feature that is (by 
itself) worth the price of admis- 
sion: true program chaining. Us- 
ing cassette or disk, programs 
can be moved in or out of RAM 
without disturbing stored data. 
This multiplies the power of the 
computer by making possible 
elaborate systems of related 
short programs that use a huge 
data base stored in RAM! Every 
one of the features just men- 
tioned above is useful and 
powerful. With all it will do, it's 
amazing that VARKEEP oc- 
cupies little more than 700 
bytes. 

Once loaded into memory, 
VARKEEP becomes an integral 
part of Basic. Commands are in- 
voked through the Name sector, 
which is already built into Level 
II ROM. Of course, this means 
that with VARKEEP in resi- 
dence, it is impossible to use 
BASICR in TRSDOS 2.3 without 



236 



UTILITIES 



first saving the affected Basic 
program and reentering DOS. I 
believe most people will find this 
an acceptable trade-off because 
VARKEEP will be used more fre- 
quently than the renumbering 
feature of BASICR. 

VARKEEP has saved me hours 
of frustration. The ability to edit 
program lines without demol- 
ishing data has greatly reduced 
program-development time, and 
markedly reduced the need for 
driver programs to load and test 
data. The ability to chain from 
program to program has permit- 
ted previously impossible pro- 
gram systems. 

In my opinion, VARKEEP is 
essential for any serious TRS-80 
programmer. In many applica- 
tions, it easily doubles the power 
of any Level II or disk machine. 
(The Circle J. Software Ranch, 
Carrollton, TX 75006; $29.95 
cassette and disk.) 

Tom Andrews 
April 1981 



"^ "^ "^ 

XBE 

Computer Applications 

Unlimited 

Model I 

XBE makes editing Basic pro- 
grams much simpler than any 
other program of its type. Its 
capabilities include selective 
renumbering of a line or block of 
lines, finding any string of 
characters, changing the string 
to any other string, block 
deleting lines, definable macro 
keys, paging the program, scan- 
ning the program, or jumping to 
any line directly. 

The program comes on tape 
with a relocating loader to place 



it at the top of memory with 
16K. 32K, or 48K. It can be 
saved on tape or disk and occu- 
pies 5,120 bytes. You have a 
blinking cursor with reasonably 
complete ease of movement and 
two speeds to move it along a 
line. 

Editing is simple, and includes 
insertion and deletion methods. 
Shift X extends the line by 
placing the cursor at the end 
of the current line and entering 
the insert mode. In the insert 
mode, shifted characters act as 
macro keys. 

A mode called clear command 
mode is initiated by pressing the 
clear key. Its many features in- 
clude deleting and inserting en- 
tire lines, returning you to Basic, 
finding a previously defined 
string, and marking a statement 
for a variety of purposes. 

You enter the extended clear 
command mode with clear/space 
bar. You can change the incre- 
ment value on lines, renumber 
the entire program, search for a 
line number, search for a string, 
change a character string, or 
redefine your macro keys. Enter 
executes the command. 

I have used this program ex- 
tensively since I received it in 
the mail, and I am still im- 
pressed. It is an excellent piece 
of well-written software that is 
long overdue. 
(Computer Applications 
Unlimited, P.O. Box 214, Dept. 
ABM, Rye, NY 10580; $29.95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
November 1981 



XTEND40 
(See Page 215) 



237 



SOFTWARE 



1^ "^ 1^ 

ZSOZAP/CUD 
Org-Tex Industries 
Model I 

Z80ZAP/CMD makes lost file 
recovery, file patches, and file 
maintenance a joy; it calculates 
the hash code for any filespec in- 
stantly. The Z80ZAP/CMD disk 
comes with back-up on auto 
when it is booted up and also 
contains a write-protect tab. 

The documentation is con- 
tained in four brief, but com- 
prehensive pages. Most of the 
commands are either automatic 
or self-prompting, making 
Z80ZAP a breeze to use. Written 
in machine language, the run- 
time is almost instantaneous in 
all modes, including power up. 
Z80ZAP has several useful func- 
tions, including the hash index 
code, sector comparison, and a 
find command. The documenta- 
tion includes easy instructions 
for removing passwords from all 
files and for recovering a 
killed file. 

(Z80ZAP/CMD was sold by Org- 
Tex Industries, Lewisville, TX, 
which could not he contacted) 
Bill Vick 
September 1980 



PROCESSORS 



C.C. Writer 1,0 
Transformation Technologies 
Color Computer 

C.C. Writer is one of the first 
word-processing programs to be 



announced for the Color Com- 
puter. It is written in Basic with 
23 pages of well-written 
documentation. It will run on a 
16K machine, but since this 
allows you to write only about 
two pages of text before saving 
to cassette, 32K is recommend- 
ed. With 32K of RAM, you will 
be able to handle eight to 12 
pages before saving to tape. 

Because the program is writ- 
ten in Basic, it can't compete 
with more sophisticated word- 
processing systems. C.C. Writer 
lacks almost all the features I de- 
pend on in the Model I Electric 
Pencil and Model II Scripsit. 

C.C. Writer is sentence- 
oriented; you must press enter at 
the end of a sentence. The pro- 
gram also displays information 
on the screen at the end of each 
sentence, such as the number of 
paragraphs you have used, and 
the number of characters you 
have left. This conspires with 
the small screen size of the TRS- 
80C to let you see very little of 
what you have written at one 
time. It is rather frustrating if 
you want to scan what you have 
just written before you go any 
further. 

Once you have entered a 
sentence, the only way to correct 
it is to go back to the menu, 
select one of the edit modes, find 
the sentence you want to 
change, and correct the mistake. 

Entering text into C.C. Writer 
may be frustrating, but printing 
it once it is in the machine is 
considerably more satisfying. 
The author has thoughtfully pro- 
vided all the important func- 
tions. You have complete control 
over margins, line spacing, 
paragraph indentation, and page 
length. 

Most documents produced on 



m\^%^ 



WORD PROCESSORS 



C.C. Writer will be completely 
indistinguishable from those 
printed on, perhaps, a TRS-80 
Model 11 with Scripsit. 
(Transformation Tech nologies, 
1 94 Lockwood Lane, Bloom- 
ingdale, IL 60108. The new C.C. 
Writer, version 3.1, is available 
on disk for $30. An upgraded 
cassette version [1.6] is also 
available.) 

Paul Grupp 
March 1982 

^ ^ ^ y2 
Chextext 
Apparat Inc. 

^ ^ ^ V2 
Hexspell 
Hexagon Systems 

"^ ^ ^ '■/^ 
MicroprcMif 
Cornucopia Software 

•^ -^ * V2 
Miz'spell 
Programs Unlimited 

^ ^ ^ V2 
Proofreader 
Aspen Software 
Model I and lU 

Apparat's long-heralded text 
checker was the last of the lot to 
reach the market. Sold on two 
formatted data disks, it requires 
a minimum of 48K RAM and a 
two-drive, single-density or one- 
drive, double-density system. 
Chextext is largely interactive, 
and while the documentation 
does not explain every step 
of the program, it is quite 
adequate. 

The Chextext package consists 
of an Assembly-language pro- 
gram and object file, a 65-gran 



ASCII character dictionary, and 
a patch to Scripsit which per- 
mits the user to activate Chex- 
text and process a document 
simply by entering the special 
command P,CHX. 

During the suspect word 
review, the user can elect either 
to ignore a word not recognized 
by the program, add it to the dic- 
tionary, or mark it with a - in the 
source text file. You can list amy 
portion of the dictionary 
to the screen, and manually add 
or delete words from the 
vocabulary. 

Using Scripsit's hyphenation 
feature before Chextext process- 
ing affects the number of 
suspect words found, as the pro- 
gram ignores any word particle 
that includes the AD byte put in 
by Scripsit. During the test, 
Chextext refused to recognize 
"abbom-inations" until the 
pseudo-hyphen had been either 
removed or replaced by the 
equivalent 2D ASCII character. 

Chextext does not allow you to 
see the context in which your 
error has occurred, nor to correct 
words while processing a docu- 
ment. Instead, you can mark 
suspect words by changing the 
last letter of each to a #, then do 
a global search to locate each 
bad word so it can be fixed. 

Chextext combines the ac- 
curacy of a literal dictionary with 
considerable operating speed, 
particularly on long documents. 
Apparat offers all registered 
owners the opportunity to obtain 
free of charge whatever size dic- 
tionaries will suit their own 
hardware configurations— up to 
a 50,000-word version on a dual 
80-track, double-density disk. 

Hexspell 
During the test trial, Bernard 



fcw y 



SOFTWARE 



Hughes' Hexspell was the only 
one of the programs to prove 
100 percent effective in detect- 
ing true errors. It has the same 
minimum system requirements 
as Chextext, but since its 
vocabulary is twice as large, 
Hexspell questioned only half as 
many correct words. 

Hexspell is a Compiler Basic 
program consisting of a 
Microsoft run-time package, the 
program files, and a compiled 
code dictionary (55 grans). The 
dictionary is divided into rows of 
words not necessarily in alpha- 
betical order; as words are called 
up during the text-checking pro- 
cess they are moved to the head 
of the row, and a new word add- 
ed to a full list pushes an old one 
out the back. As a result, com- 
monly used words accumulate 
at the front of the vocabulary 
where they are found fastest. 
There is an almost human qual- 
ity to Hexspell, for it seems to 
pick up speed as it becomes 
more attuned to the user's own 
vocabulary. 

Source text is scrolled up the 
screen at a fast reading speed, 
with each suspect word dis- 
played in full context. This gives 
the user an opportunity to 
change or add it to the dic- 
tionary on the spot. The feature 
makes Hexspell's operating 
speed slower than most other 
checkers', but lets you run your 
own quality control on the text 
at the same time Hexspell is 
working, catching mistakes such 
as "principle" for "principal," 
which no proofreading program 
would recognize. 

An enhanced version of Hex- 
spell is planned. With added 
features such as an expamdable 
dictionary, text scroll speed con- 
trol, an automatic vocabulary 



add function, and a program- 
mable character set, it should 
be a formidable tool at proof- 
reading time. 

Microproof 

Cornucopia Software's Micro- 
proof is in a class by itself. It 
alone will operate on a one-drive, 
single-density 32K system, and 
its documentation is at least 
three times its competitors' size. 

The version tested had a main 
program and dummy file, three 
dictionaries (56 grans total), and 
programs that let you print and 
expand the dictionary. Standard 
Microproof sends the list of 
suspect words to the screen and 
also the printer, if turned on. A 
text-correction feature is 
available as an option; if you 
elect to see the context in which 
a suspect word occurs, Micro- 
proof displays only a portion of 
the source text, putting three 
question marks after the word. 

If speed were the sole con- 
sideration, then Microproof 
author Phil Manfield would be 
king. The program was the 
fastest of the checkers when 
handling either long or short 
documents. Where accuracy is 
concerned, however, Microproof 
made an extremely low grade on 
the test trial, detecting only 53 
percent of true errors in the 
sample document. The root 
word/prefix/suffix coding system 
that gives Microproof its speed 
seems to be the principal cause; 
each of the errors that went un- 
detected was a compound word. 

Unlike the other programs 
tested, Microproof does not offer 
the option to close files and exit 
to DOS if and when you desire, 
nor are you given a convenient 
means to delete unwanted words 
from the dictionary. The text- 



240 



WORD PROCESSORS 



correction module should be 
easier to use. Keys selected for 
the two principal edit functions 
require an initial shift to upper- 
case, and have not been IN- 
KEYed; the initial video review 
of suspect words is done entirely 
in lowercase. 

Cornucopia Software has been 
very responsive to user feedback 
and has already made a number 
of improvements in their original 
version of Microproof. A 
20,000-word literal dictionary 
will soon be available which 
should greatly improve the pro- 
gram's overall accuracy. 

Miz'spell 

A streamlined package of only 
five components, Miz'spell 
comes on two TRSDOS disks 
and works with only one disk 
drive, though it requires 48K 
RAM. Like Hexspell, it is a Com- 
piler Basic program with a 
Microsoft run-time package. 
However, it uses a different 
hashing routine to transform 
words into 3-byte values that 
can be stored in the dictionary. 
When checking a word, it first 
looks through a basic vocabulary 
of 1,700 words in memory and 
then goes to the dictionary file 
on disk, which in its virgin state 
is about 16,000 words. 

Unhappily, Miz'spell lived up 
to its name and failed to identify 
one-third of the errors in the test 
document. Though it zipped 
along on short texts, it took 
more time on long texts than the 
others because it must leave 
room for its in-memory dic- 
tionary, and cannot load all of a 
large document at one time. 

Miz'spell offers a number of 
features missing on other spell- 
ing checkers. There is an auto- 
learn command to automatically 



add all the new words in a docu- 
ment to the dictionary, an 
excellent feature if you intend 
to create alternative diction- 
aries (though you must take spe- 
cial care to ensure that all the 
words are correct in any docu- 
ment used). 

Proofreader 

Like Hexspell, Miz'spell offers 
the advantage of a video scroll of 
the full text being processed. At 
the end of the proofreading ses- 
sion, Miz'spell displays statistical 
information on the total number 
of words checked, the number 
added to the dictionary, and the 
percentage of words recognized 
by the program. 

Aspen Software's Proofreader 
is another component package 
that you can upgrade with the 
addition of a correction feature 
called Proof-Edit. The complete 
program is available on four 
disks, which require a minimum 
of two drives and 32K. Docu- 
mentation is quite good. 

Offering the largest stock dic- 
tionary of programs tested (109 
grans), the package comes with 
utilities for editing and adding to 
the basic word list. It can handle 
documents with as many as 
1 ,600 different words, a limit 
seldom reached on a 48K 
system. 

Proofreader creates a bad-word 
file with the extension /BWD, 
which Proof-Edit then reads. The 
program has its own routines for 
identifying source and output 
files, but you can easily use two 
switches to override the defaults. 

The program and dictionary 
together are huge. Nothing less 
than an 80-track, double-density 
system will permit the entire 
program to reside on one disk. 
Proofreader does not scan for the 



241 



SOFTWARE 




presence of Proof-Edit before ex- 
iting to DOS, nor have the edit 
functions been INKEYed. The 
only error that Proofreader failed 
to recognize in the test docu- 
ment was the word "diction- 
arys," since if the letter before a 
final "s" is not a vowel or 
another "s," Proofreader 
assumes the word is a regular 
plural. 

Proofreader has all the advan- 
tages of the full video scroll and 
accurate in-context evaluation of 
suspect words that Hexspell and 
Miz'spell offer. But the hashing 
algorithm Aspen Software used 
significantly reduces the amount 
of time needed to process longer 
documents. This program is the 
only one that saves suspect 
words to a disk file for later 
reference. 

Concliisioii 

If operating speed and the 
ability to call the program from 
within a word processor are the 
principal considerations, then 
either Microproof or Chextext is 
the clear winner. If you demand 
accuracy combined with the 
convenience of a correction 



feature, then the choice seems to 
be between Hexspell and Proof- 
reader. 

If you have only one disk drive 
and a single-density system, 
choose either Microproof or 
Miz'spell; but if that drive is a 
double-headed 80, then for the 
largest available literal dic- 
tionary choose Chextext. If you 
want value for your money, 
Miz'spell is a "best buy." If you 
write many text files in excess of 
10 pages each and can afford it, 
consider using two of the pro- 
grams—one for speed and conve- 
nience and another for accuracy. 
(Chextext, Apparat Inc., 4401 S. 
Tamarac Parkway, Denver, CO 
80237; $59.95. 

Hexspell has been replaced 
by Hexspell 2, Hexagon Sys- 
tems, P.O. Box 397, Station A, 
Vancouver, BC V6C 2N2; $99. 

Microproof has been replaced 
by Electric Webster, Cornucopia 
Software, P.O. Box 5028, 
Walnut Creek, CA 94596: 
$89.50 Models I and III, $149.50 
Model II. 

Miz'spell, Programs Unlimit- 
ed, 20A Jericho Turnpike, 
Jericho, NY 1 1 753; $59.95 disk. 

Proofreader and Proof-Edit, 
Aspen Software, P.O. Box 
339-M, Tijeras, NM 87059; $80.) 

Michael M. Finefrock 
April 1982 



* * * ¥2 
Color Scripsit 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Color Computer 

At $40 a copy. Color Scripsit is 
a good value. However, some 
compromises have been made. 

The program allows max- 
imum use of your memory 






WORD PROCESSORS 



because of its ROM-pack loca^ 
tion. It is accompanied by a good 
40-page manual; its biggest fail- 
ing is its lack of caution regard- 
ing the program's limitations. 

The text-editing mode is prob- 
ably what you'll use the most It 
is accomplished by several 
facilities that make the job 
relatively painless; you can use 
the arrow keys to move the cur- 
sor one position at a time. You 
can easily insert text or move or 
delete characters, words, or 
blocks of text. 

One operation can lead to 
disaster if not executed carefully. 
When inserting text, pressing 
both the shift and the left arrow 
inserts spaces until the next tab 
location. This works well unless 
there is no tab between the point 
of insertion and the end of 
the line. 

In this case, if you press the 
shift and left arrow to insert . 
spaces to the end of the line, the 
machine hangs up and the only 
way to recover is to hit the reset 
button and lose the document in 
memory. To avoid this, use the 
enter key to space out to the end 
of a line. 

When saving on tape, don't 
misspell the name of the docu- 
ment. If you do, the processor 
looks for a nonexistent docu- 
ment and continues to do so 
even after the end of the tape is 
reached. The only way to regain 
control of the computer is to 
press the reset button. 

The print function lets you 
direct the contents of memory to 
the printer or to print to tape. 
Printing to tape saves the text 
so it can be read by a Basic 
program. 

You can change a page's for- 
mat by altering seven standards, 
including text width, margin 



size, hyphenation minimum, 
lines per page, first page 
number, line spacing, and 
capitalization. 

Color Scripsit operates quickly 
on documents not exceeding 5K 
or 6K; on documents larger than 
this a noticeable delay exists be- 
tween the keystroke and the ac- 
tion on the screen. For personal 
or limited business use. Color 
Scripsit is a good package. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $39.95.) 

Stephen G. Stone, III 
October 1982 



Electric Pencil 1.0 
Michael Shrayer Software 

"^ "^ "^ "^ 
Scripsit 1.0 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

Electric Pencil and Scripsit are 
both sophisticated word pro- 
cessors for the TRS-80. Each 
program is written in Assembly 
language and can be used with 
either cassette or disk systems. 

Either Pencil or Scripsit can be 
used as an uppercase system 
without any modification to your 
computer. To produce lower- 
case, a conversion is necessary. 
Luckily, for the thousands of 
owners with non-Radio Shack 
modifications, Scripsit will work 
with the normal Electric Pencil 
lowercase modification. 
However, anyone who has had 
Radio Shack install a lowercase 
kit is stuck with Scripsit. The 
Electric Pencil will not produce 
lowercase with this official 
modification. 

Electric Pencil comes with an 



^40 



SOFTWARE 



operator's manual, written as a 
guide rather than a textbook; the 
average user can develop a good 
understanding of the system in 
an afternoon of reading and ex- 
perimenting. The Scripsit disk is 
supplied with sample text files, 
two program versions, and a 
three-cassette audio instruction 
course. The manual is not 
usable on its own, and the taped 
instruction course requires 
about six hours of listening time. 

The Electric Pencil has a 
menu of print parameters that 
you set before printing. Unlike 
Scripsit, the parameters are not 
stored with the text file, so you 
have to remember what they 
were. Also, the number of com- 
mands available in Scripsit is 
greater than the 40 or so 
available to the Electric Pencil 
user, making it much more dif- 
ficult to understand and use. 

Three of the most useful 
features of Electric Pencil are not 
available to the Scripsit user. 
The suffix /PCL is automatically 
added to all files created by Pen- 
cil, making them easy to spot on 
your disk directory. The com- 
mand DI gives a directory of all 
files with the suffix on the drive 
specified; in Scripsit yoii have to 
exit the system to use the DIR 
command in DOS. You also 
must return to DOS in order to 
kill files. 

Scripsit is cheaper and more 
flexible, but the Pencil is 
simpler; I tend to create files in 
Pencil and print them out with 
Scripsit. For real fancy printing, 
Scripsit is a must, but for ease of 
operation. Pencil can't be beat. 
Maybe somebody will come up 
with a Pencil compatible with 
the Radio Shack modification, 
or, perhaps, produce software 
that is as nice to use as Pen- 



cil—but as advanced as Scripsit. 
(Electric Pencil 2.0 is now sold 
by IJG Inc., 1260 Westhill Blvd., 
Upland, CA 91 786; $79.95 tape, 
$89.95 disk. Scripsit is sold by 
Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102, Model III 
cassette $39.95, disk $99.95, 
Model III SuperScripsit $1 99, 
Model II Scripsit $399, Color 
Scripsit cassette $39.95, disk 
$59.95.) jijj^ Perry 

May 1980 

■^ ^ ^ 1/2 
Flextext 
Apparat Inc. 

■^ "^ "^ 
Subscript 5.0 
ProSoft 
Model I and III 

These two word-processing en- 
hancements let TRS-80 users 
take full advantage of the Cen- 
tronics 737 capabilities. 

Flextext modifies Scripsit on 
disk so that printer function 
commands embedded in text 
use almost every ability of the 
737— proportional font right 
justification (mixed with 
elongated and compressed 
characters), underlining, 
superscripts, and subscripts— all 
anywhere within a document. 

A special file called 
modify/SCP is entered in DOS to 
incorporate Flextext comments 
in Scripsit. The modification is 
stored as a separate file named 
SCP/LC or SCP/UC without any 
alteration of the original Scripsit 
file. SCP/xx has all of Scripsits 
features. 

The embedded-in-text printer 
commands always begin with 
the escape character (the less- 
than symbol), followed by a 



244 



WORD PROCESSORS 



primary action code (S or E for 
start or end), and a secondary 
action code to identify the 737 
printer function to be activated. 

One excellent feature actually 
overcomes a 737 shortcoming — 
stopping elongated printing at 
the end of a print line. Flextext 
continues double-width printing 
line after line if desired. Special 
print commands activate Flex- 
text when it is time to print a 
document. 

With Apparat's Flextext, 
Scripsit combined with the Cen- 
tronics 737 becomes an out- 
standing word processor. 

Subscript 5.0 is a Newscript- 
compatible word-processing 
enhancement that combines pro- 
grams named Edit, Scrip, Prop, 
and Mininit into a Basic/machine- 
code package that is line 
oriented rather than character 
oriented like Scripsit. 

You compose using the Edit 
mode, inserting print format 
commands as you go. This is 
done in Basic, so you must hit 
enter after each 255 characters, 
or at the end of each display line. 

When your document is ready 
for printing. Script reads the 
printer function commands, and 
combined with machine-code 
Prop, formats and prints the 
documents using all of the 737 's 
special features. 

Mininit is an upper/lowercase 
driver that supports Radio 
Shack's modification. It also 
detects Basic's string compres- 
sion mode and has a screen- 
print routine. 

Subscript has some features 
not found in Scripsit or Electric 
Pencil. One is a darkness control 
code, which overstrikes a 
character, and a table of con- 
tents code, which builds a 
separate file of strings to be 



printed as a table of contents 
with automated page and para- 
graph numbering. 

Another useful feature, the 
alter code, prints special 737 
characters that are not on the 
TRS-80 keyboard. 

However, Flextext wins over 
Subscripts prop in right-jus- 
tification ability. Prop can right 
justify single- and double-width 
proportional styles mixed on a 
line, but not a mixture of pro- 
portional and compressed for- 
mats. Flextext handles all com- 
binations (excluding 10 
characters per inch). 
(Flextext, Apparat Inc., 4401 S. 
Tamarac Parkway, Denver, CO 
80237; $29.95. Subscript 5.0, 
ProSoft, Dept. C, Box 560, N. 
Hollywood, CA 91603, has been 
replaced with Newscript, which 
sells for $124.95.) 

John F. Rogers 
September 1981 



Hexspell 
(See Page 239) 

"^ ^ ^ 1/2 

LaMmakr 
ETS Center 
Model I or III 

Lablmakr is designed to create 
custom labels and should not be 
confused with mail-list-type label 
programs that are used for mass 
mailings. It is most useful for 
generating return-address labels 
or disk labels, or for generating a 
mailing list if your list numbers 
just a few hundred. The package 
can be used with an Epson 
printer with or without Graftrax. 

The program has 16 label for- 
mats that run the gamut from 
the compressed to the jumbo 



^^W*t^ 



SOFTWARE 



mode. The documentation is 
easy to use. The instructions 
take you through a step-by-step 
procedure for setting up an auto- 
booting disk for the various 
DOSes the program works with 
(TRSDOS 2.3, NEWDOS 2.1, and 
NEWDOS80 1.0 and 2.0). 

Lablmakr is menu-driven with 
four user options. The first op- 
tion lets you sample the files that 
come with the program of the 
files that you have created with 
option number four. The second 
option lets you print, correct, or 
add a new label. One handy 
function I liked was the pro- 
gram's ability to correct any 
label without having to retype 
the information from scratch. 

Option three enables you to 
print the sample labels included 
on the program or your own per- 
sonal creations. The fourth op- 
tion is for adding new labels. 
You can create or correct a label, 
save it to disk, print it, or abort 
operation. 

A minor problem with the 
package appears when you first 
initialize a data disk. You must 
break the program and type 
GOTO 1300; this accesses a 
routine that lets you name the 
disk for future reference. It's a 
good feature, but it should be 
menu-driven. Also, the program 
doesn't have an insert, delete, 
and reorder function. This 
makes it impossible to keep an 
up-to-date mailing list. 

The program is self- 
prompting, easy to use, ade- 
quately error-trapped, and very 
versatile. Lablmakr is a good 
value for the money. 
(ETS Center, Box 651, 35026-A 
Turtle Trail, Willoughby, OH 
44094; $19.50 disk.) 

Mark Sprague 
October 1982 

246 



Microproof 
(See Page 239) 



Miz'spell 
(See Page 239) 



■^ "^ "^ "^ 
Model II Scripsit 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model II 

Scripsit for the Model II is Tan- 
dy's high-level entry into the 
word-processing arena for its 
top-of-the-line microcomputer 
system. Scripsit's features com- 
pare favorably with other state- 
of-the-art, sophisticated, screen- 
oriented machine-language 
wordmashers like Electric Pen- 
cil, WordStar, and Magic Wand. 

I need flexible formatting 
features, but my primary em- 
phasis is text editing. The com- 
mands should be simple and re- 
quire a minimum of keystrokes. 
An integrated system from one 
manufacturer mates the soft- 
ware specifically with the hard- 
ware. It is thus with Scripsit and 
the Model II. 

The arrow keys scroll and 
position the cursor. Some other 
programs require the control key 
and four different character 
keys. You can move the cursor 
one character at a time in any of 
the four directions indicated by 
the arrows. 

Two special function keys, Fl 
and F2, serve as your single- 
stroke edit keys. Fl opens the 
text at any place you position 
the cursor to allow insertions. F2 
deletes text. 

Scripsit uses Model II's 
reverse-video feature to highlight 
selected text portions for bulk 
deleting, moving, and 



WORD PROCESSORS 



duplicating. You do not have to 
use special text boundary 
markers. 

The Define command, used to 
highlight text for manipulation, 
has several variations. Press W 
to define a word, S to define a 
sentence, P to define a 
paragraph, A to define all text 
above the cursor, and B to define 
all text below the cursor, 

A special format line showing 
the format settings appears as a 
line of dashes along the bottom 
of the video display. Set the left 
and right margins on this line 
with (and). Typing O sets the 
standard outline tab to indent 
the first line of each paragraph. 

Scripsit provides almost 
unlimited formatting variations 
within a document. You can 
reset the format line with new 
margins and change line spacing 
at any time for the complete 
document or any portion of it. 

You can print text at any time 
while you are working on a 
document. You can print a docu- 
ment from beginning to end con- 
tinuously, or pause after each 
page to allow insertion of 
another sheet of paper, Scripsit 
commands use all the Daisy 
Wheel Printer II's features. Some 
options include bold printing, 
underlining, overstrike (to create 
accented or other special 
characters), and superscripts 
and subscripts. 

Scripsit uses only a protion of 
available RAM (about 8K) for 
text storage. You cannot fill com- 
puter memory. Each time you 
begin on a new page, Scripsit 
saves the former page to disk. 
There is a trade-off with a page- 
at-a-time system, however. 
Documents longer than one page 
produce the delays inherent in 
disk access. Scripsit is fairly fast 



in its disk procedures, but 
transferring a page between disk 
and RAM requires a few 
seconds. 

Scripsit is a completely in- 
tegrated program; the editor and 
formatter are in the same pro- 
gram. You can print a portion in 
a specified format while you are 
editing. 

Once you become familiar 
with Scripsit, it is easy to use. 
When you first sit down with it, 
you could be overwhelmed, 
especially if this is your first ex- 
posure to word processing. 
Because it is a rather complex 
package, Tandy includes an 
eight-lesson audio-cassette train- 
ing course. Additionally, there's 
an on-screen Help menu to call 
up when you get bogged down. 

Scripsit's page-at-a-time orien- 
tation can be frustrating. As 
such, Scripsit works within the 
relatively small RAM space of 
8K. It does this quite well for 
same-disk operations. 

If you want to make a back-up 
on another disk, the Copy utility 
copies the entire document one 
page at a time. Page one is 
transferred from disk to RAM, 
displayed on the screen, and 
copied; page two is transferred 
from disk to RAM, displayed, 
copied, and so on. In a two-drive 
system, this is done automatical- 
ly. All you do is wait. 

If you have a one-drive system, 
however, be prepared for some 
hair-pulling. You have to 
manually swap disks after each 
page is copied. A 20-page docu- 
ment requires 20 exchanges of 
disks! Using the back-up utility 
takes about 20 minutes and 
copies user and program 
material, overkill when you need 
a copy of one document. This, 
too, requires manual swapping 



247 



SOFTWARE 



of disks several times on a one- 
drive system. 

Tandy programmers should 
make a special provision to use 
all available RAM so as many 
pages as possible are loaded into 
computer memory, copied, then 
RAM completely filled again and 
copied. Copying only one page at 
a time is needlessly inconvenient 
and wasteful of a 64K system's 
capabilities. 

Scripsit would be more effi- 
cient if its developers had taken 
a tip from Scripsit for the Model I 
and the other micro-based pro- 
grams and provided a RAM buf- 
fer large enough to hold and 
manipulate 15 to 20 pages of 
text. The only advantage of the 
program in its present form is 
that, in the event of a power 
failure, you lose a maximum of 
one page. 

Scripsit is a satisfying and 
sophisticated word-processing 
program with advanced, easy-to- 
use editing features and wide 
flexibility in formatting text. 
Scripsit will no doubt be the 
choice of more Model II owners 
than any other word-processing 
program. It is less expensive 
than some others, and it sup- 
ports Radio Shack's Daisy Wheel 
Printer 11. 

(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $399.) 

Richard Harkness 
February 1982 



it ^ ^ V2 
Newscript 6.0 
ProSoft 
Model I and III 

Newscript 6.0 is a word- 
processing program that offers a 
Justified proportional font along 



with its other features. 

There are several programs; 
most are written in Basic for 
easy modification. The two chief 
programs are Edit and Script. 
Edit allows full editing of a docu- 
ment, including insert and 
delete, block copy, move or 
delete, and global search and 
change. Autosave is a conve- 
nient feature, allowing you to 
automatically save the docu- 
ment as often as you desire. It 
also has the ultimate command. 
Whoops. This restores the screen 
to its original content by wiping 
out all changes. 

When you create a document, 
signal completion by typing End 
on the command line. This saves 
the file in process, and gives you 
the opportunity to stop, edit 
another file, or go into Script 
(default). The file must be saved. 
A Script is another program 13 
grans long. 

Newscript differs from earlier 
ProSoft products with some im- 
portant changes. Mininit, an 
extra option on the earlier pro- 
grams, is now included and sup- 
ports Radio Shack's lowercase 
modification. This also speeds 
up the keyboard, providing 
repeat and debounce. You no 
longer need to hit enter with 
every line, and forced spacing is 
now possible. 

The program is not perfect; it 
doesn't provide any means of 
hyphenating, and some of the 
commands aren't convenient. 
But, for those of you with a dot- 
matrix printer and a limited 
budget, this is definitely one pro- 
gram to consider. 
(ProSoft, Dept. C, Box 560, N. 
Hollywood, CA 91603. The cur- 
rent version of Newscript [7.0] 
sells for $124.95 or $139.95 
with the Mailing Labels com- 



243 



WORD PROCESSORS 



panion program.) 

Jon Boczkiewicz 
March 1982 



"^ "^ "X" w 

Hewscript 7.0 
ProSoft 
Model I or III 

Newscript is the best word- 
processing package I have seen. 
The well-written manual 
references chapters divided into 
Edit commands and Script (for- 
matting) commands. The 
manual includes chapters on in^ 
stalling Newscript for your com- 
puter and printer and how to 
create indices, titles, tables, and 
points (bullets). 

Because of Newscript's power 
and flexibility, it will take a little 
while to get the hang of it, but 
once you do you will find it to be 
a powerful word processor. 

Newscript is written in Basic 
and machine language. The 
editor is fast. The upper limit is 
750 characters per second. Basic 
is used primarily for I/O and to 
install the front ends of 
Newscript. 

Newscript is broken up into 
several programs. Control is 
automatically passed among 
them as needed, freeing the user 
from the hassles of remembering 
which programs to run. 

Newscript is, for the most part, 
menu-driven and optionally in- 
tegrates with Microproof 's spell- 
ing checker and the G.E.A.P. 
graphics editor. Newscript sup- 
ports many printers as well as 
double- and single-width, italics, 
boldface, super- and subscripts, 
underlining, and backspacing, 
and it is unsurpassed in printer 
control. 



Newscript's editor is fast, easy, 
and powerful, but where 
Newscript shines is in how it for- 
mats the words on the printed 
page. Newscript easily creates 
tables, indices, tables of con- 
tents, form letters (with either 
keyboard entry allowed at for- 
mat time, or selectively read 
data from disk files according to 
key words), and multiple top and 
bottom titles. 

It also lets you change fonts, 
center text, turn formatting on 
and off, and append and imbed 
files together for long docu- 
ments. No other TRS-80 word 
processor can match Newscript's 
ability to format text. 

Newscript comes on a single 
disk for Model III users, and both 
sides of a floppy disk for Model I 
users. It is supplied on a TDOS 
system disk (an abbreviated ver- 
sion of DOSPLUS), which is also 
quite good. Newscript can then 
use TBasic (a small Basic), leav- 
ing maximum space for your 
documents. 

One of the most interesting 
and powerful attributes of 
Newscript is its ability to create 
form letters. You can create a 
data file and in it place a line of 
key symbols, a block of lines, 
followed by a number of 
variables. Another thing 
Newscript does well is link dif- 
ferent files together to create 
finished documents. 

Newscript is for professional 
writing. It would be overkill for 
lesser needs. 

Newscript 7.0 is an excellent 
product. The system is large, but 
it needs to be to allow for the 
power packed by the Newscript 
package. Unless you are familiar 
with WordStar or with main- 
frame word processors, it will 
take you a few days before you 



249 



SOFTWARE 



can put out any sizable 
documents, but the result will be 
well worth it. 

(ProSoft, Dept. C, Box 560, K 
Hollywood, CA 91603; $124.95.} 
Bruce Powel Douglass 
October 1982 



■^ ^ ^ V 2 

Palantir Word Processing 

Designer Software 

■^ "^ "^ "^ 
Scripsit 2.0 
Tandy/Radio Shack 

"^ "5^ -^^ V2 

Select Word Processing 
Select Information Systems 
Model II 

I found all three of these Model 
II word processors to be high- 
quality, professionally-made 
products. All three offer the usual 
cursor controls, scrolling, word 
wraparound, typeover, and in- 
sert and delete options. They 
also include text-formatting 
features such as left and right 
justification, block movement, 
lock, deletion, tabs, headers, 
footers, full format control, file 
merging, special printer controls, 
global search and replace, and so 
on. Two of the programs. Select 
and Palantir, require CP/M. 
Scripsit 2.0 is supplied with 
TRSDOS. All three deserve high 
praise for ease of installation. 

Palantir must be configured 
for a specific computer and ter- 
minal by the dealer before it can 
be used— a slight inconvenience 
for the mail-order customer, but 
also an assurance that 
everything is working correctly. 



Palantir thoughtfully includes a 
keyboard map for 30 different 
computers, including the Model 
II. The instructions refer to 
specific keys by their function. 
You simply look up the function 
you want on the chart for your 
machine, and it tells you which 
key to punch. Palantir supplies 
drivers for a variety of printers, 
and these may be interchanged 
at any time. 

Select encourages purchasers 
to have their dealers configure 
the program, but they also make 
it quick and easy for the end 
user to install. Unlike Palantir, 
Select requires that the printer 
be specified during installation, 
so you'll need two or more 
copies of the program if you 
have more than one printer. 

Scripsit, furnished with 
TRSDOS, is specifically designed 
for the Model II. Installation is a 
matter of putting the disk into 
the drive and flipping the reset 
switch. If you have a Line 
Printer IV or Daisy Wheel II, 
everything is hunky-dory, but 
owners of other printers may or 
may not be able to use all of 
their printer's special functions. 
If you are on good terms with 
Assembly-language program- 
ming you can write a driver to 
meet your printer's re- 
quirements. 

All three programs do the 
job of educating the user reason- 
ably well, although they use 
radically different means to 
achieve this goal. 

The Select user is asked to put 
the manual down and call the 
Teach option, a 90-minute in- 
teractive tutorial. 

The Palantir program also in- 
cludes a step-by-step tutorial, 
although it is the manual that 
does the teaching. Scripsit 2.0 



250 



WORD PROCESSORS 



uses tutorial cassettes and a pro- 
fessionally written, designed, 
and produced 80-page reference 
manual. The manual is perhaps 
the best I've seen included with 
any software. While it doesn't in- 
clude more than the others, it 
makes the information easier to 
get to. Scripsit is also supplied 
with several well-designed sam- 
ple files. 

For the beginner, Scripsit and 
Palantir are generally the easiest 
to master. Select is more com- 
plex and takes a little longer 
to grasp; it tends to have greater 
appeal to the technically 
astute user. 

Scripsit is the most elegant of 
the three. Whether or not it is ef- 
ficient or easy to use seems to 
depend completely on individual 
experience. I find that most peo- 
ple learn the basics of Scripsit in 
a short period of time, without 
excessive reference to the 
manual. 

This can be a drawback. For 
example, if you don't get far into 
the manual, you might never 
discover that you can cut the 
number of keystrokes needed by 
entering a direct command, or 
bypassing the display of one or 
more menus. In fact, you can 
chain several commands 
together through a single key, 
customizing your system for any 
particular need. Users who never 
continue their education beyond 
the fundamentals usually 
describe Scripsit as a slow, un- 
wieldy system. But once a user 
has lived with it for several 
weeks, opinions tend to be very 
favorable. 

One feature unique to Scripsit 
is the method of saving 
documents. Scripsit is page 
oriented, which means you 
display a single page at a time. 



formatted Just as it will appear 
when printed. Text is automat- 
ically saved for you but before 
leaving the program, you must 
remember to return to the direc- 
tory. Failure to do so can result 
in loss of data. 

Palantir superficially 
resembles Model I/III Scripsit in 
its basic functions, so veteran 
TRS-80 users tend to grasp it 
quickly. There are four simple 
commands used for disk 
I/O— Edit, Read, Save, and 
Backup. Edit creates a new file, 
Read loads a previous file from 
disk, and Save stores the current 
file on disk. Backup saves the file 
to disk, then reads it into 
memory again. It never erases 
the old file until the new one is 
successfully stored. I use this 
command every 15 minutes or 
so to reduce data loss in case of 
power failure. 

While Select handles blocks in 
the traditional way— you place a 
marker at the beginning and end 
of the block, and then do 
whatever you want with 
it— Scripsit and Palantir allow 
you to place the cursor at the 
beginning of a block, and specify 
how much text you want in it 
using simple commands. Text in 
the block is highlighted by 
displaying it on the screen in 
reverse video. 

Another feature of both Palan- 
tir and Scripsit is the user- 
definable keys. Each key holds 
up to 255 characters in Palantir, 
and 250 keystrokes in Scripsit. 
Scripsit offers 20 user-definable 
keys, and Palantir 36. Select can 
perform the same function in a 
limited fashion, but is not as 
convenient to use as the other 
two. Palantir does not recom- 
mend including control codes in 
user-defined key text, but Scrip- 



2 c 1 



SOFTWARE 



sit has no such limitation. 

Select's most important 
feature is the inclusion of a 
proofreading dictionary and sub- 
program. The Select spell pro- 
gram works well, and allows you 
to add your own vocabulary to 
the dictionary. Scripsit offers a 
proofreading program that must 
be purchased separately. Both 
Scripsit and Select allow merg- 
ing of and access to data from 
other sources. The Scripsit 
merge option is the easiest to 
understand and use, but Select's 
is far more flexible. 

To conclude, all three pro- 
grams are top notch. Select and 
Scripsit are the most versatile of 
the three; Palantir is the easiest 
for beginners to learn and use, 
with Scripsit a close second. For 
creative writers who are primari- 
ly interested in the editing 
aspect of word processing, 
PaJantir and Scripsit allow the 
greatest freedom from technical 
details during the writing pro- 
cess. From an economics point 
of view, Scripsit is the least ex- 
pensive of the three, particularly 
if you don't yet own CP/M. 
Whichever you decide on, I offer 
this advice to help you get the 
most from your system— read 
the manual! 

(The Palantir Word Processor 
sells for $450, and is available 
from Designer Software, 3400 
Montrose Blvd., Suite 718, 
Houston, TX 77006. The Select 
Word Processor is available 
from Select Information 
Systems, 680 Beach St., Suite 
396, San Francisco, CA 94109 
for $595. Scripsit 2.0 is 
marketed by Tandy/Radio 
Shack, Fort Worth, TX 76102; 
$399.) 

Paul Grupp 
September 1982 



Pensawrite Word Processor 
Pensadyne Computer 
Services 
Models I and III 

Pensawrite has five modules 
designed to work in a 16K 
single-disk system. Two are 
printout formatters, one for let- 
ters and one for reports. One 
receives formats and creates 
upper- and lowercase text. 
Another is used for editing. All 
four are invisible to the user and 
are called and controlled by the 
master menu and module. 

Compared to most documenta- 
tion I've received, the manual is 
wonderful. Commands and pro- 
cesses are described in detail, 
without being wordy. The sum- 
mary page ignores two impor- 
tant text-building commands, 
but the program routines are 
documented within remark 
statements. 

Had the programmers been as 
careful with their programming 
as they are with this manual, I 
would recommend Pensawrite. 
However, Pensawrite fails to live 
up to its potential. The 64-char- 
acter input and use of printouts 
is a natural limit for efficient use 
of memory and random-access 
disk files. Memory is saved by 
keeping the formatting of 
routines at a minimum. The 
user types most special format- 
ting, like special indentations, 
though it would be nice to signal 
some single-space sections 
within double-spaced text. If you 
have special needs, Pensawrite 
won't accommodate them. 

The editor function is impossi- 
ble because of its failure to use 
random-access files. Every cor- 
rection, no matter how insignifi- 
cant, rewrites the entire text file. 



252 



WORD PROCESSORS 



It is so poorly designed that I 
don't recommend Pensawrite. It 
can be used for short personal 
letters that don't require careful 
editing; it does create a nicely- 
formatted title page. But if it is to 
be taken seriously as an inex- 
pensive personal word processor. 
Pensadyne should take the 
TRSDOS manual and rewrite 
Pensawrite with random-access 
files. 

(Pensawrite is sold by Pen- 
sadyne Computer Services, 
4441 W. First St., Vancouver, 
BC, Canada V6R 4H9; $19.95.) 
Louis Zeppa 
January 1981 



■^ ^ -^ •y2 

Poor Man's Text Editor 

Don Coon 

Model I 



kits available for $20 or less. 

With only 13 commands, us- 
ing the Poor Man's Text Editor is 
simple, and the instructions sup- 
plied with the cassette are ex- 
cellent. Once you've entered 
text, editing is easy. Move the 
cursor under the character you 
want to change and type the 
change. 

You can't conveniently move 
blocks of text, or paragraphs, 
from one position to another; 
everything is accomplished with 
individual characters. Right- 
justification of the text is not 
automatic, but you can do it by 
inserting blanks on each line as 
needed. It's a good product for 
the price. 

(Don Coon, 1228 Alpine, DeWitt, 
MI 48820; $9.95 tape, $19.95 
disk.) 

Fred Blechman 
February 1980 



If you need to do word pro- 
cessing, but don't want to pay 
a lot of money, try the Poor 
Man's Text Editor. It costs less 
than $10, is surprisingly ver- 
satile, and might satisfy all your 
needs. 

The text-editor program 
features upper- and lowercase, a 
nondestructible, easily- 
maneuvered blinking cursor, 
and editing and graphics op- 
tions, and it interfaces with 
either tape or printer. You can 
add, delete, or repeat any regular 
or graphic character. Further- 
more, you can hold up to nine 
pages of text in memory, and 
when printing you can select the 
line spacing. 

The program requires a 16K 
memory to use all the options. 
To print or display lowercase, 
your TRS-80 must be modified 
using one of several conversion 



Proofreader 
(See Page 239) 

"w" "'pT ^^ "^r 

Qwerty 

Med Systems Software 

Model I and III 

Qwerty is a patch that ex- 
pands Scripsit's word-processing 
capabilities. It is the best word- 
processing package I have used 
for typing technical documents 
and general-purpose manu- 
scripts. 

Qwerty is a machine-language 
program and comes in several 
versions for various printers. 
The supplier claims the program 
works with either TRSDOS or 
NEWDOS and possibly other 
DOSes. I reviewed Qwerty for the 
Line Printer IV (Centronics 737). 
Med Systems reports that ver- 



253 



SOFTWARE 



sions are now, or soon will be, 
available for the Daisy Wheel II, 
the Line Printer VIII, and the 
new NEC printer. 

Without a copy of Scripsit/LC, 
Qwerty is useless. Qwerty uses 
most Scripsit commands plus 
four additional ones. Qwerty lets 
you compose pages with a two- 
or three-column format, using 
either a proportional or 16.7-cpi 
font. This lets you get a max- 
imum of readable material on a 
single page. Another handy for- 
mat feature of Qwerty is the 
ability to check the format of the 
text without printing anything. 

The program is supplied on 
disk with versions for machines 
with 32K and 48K of RAM. It is 
shipped on a data disk without a 
DOS. Qwerty works fine with a 
single-drive system when copied 
onto a DOS disk, but a single- 
drive user will have to find a way 
to make the copy. 

Qwerty works equally well on 
both the Model I and Model III 
with a Line Printer IV. The 
manual is well-written and com- 
plete, but assumes the reader is 
familiar with Scripsit. 

The keyboard can generate 
about 76 special characters, in- 
cluding the ASCII characters not 
on the keyboard, part of the 
Greek alphabet, and a variety of 
mathematic and scientific sym- 
bols. Qwerty also provides 
superscripts and subscripts. If 
you need footnotes, Qwerty lets 
you place them anywhere in the 
text; the computer takes care of 
putting them where they belong. 

One problem with Qwerty is 
that the horizontal centering 
function from Scripsit doesn't 
work well with proportional 
spacing unless the writer sup- 
plies extra spaces to adjust for 
the variations in letter width. 



Switching to a monospaced type 
font sometimes confuses the 
computer as to character counts. 
The result is uncentered text. 
Because Qwerty is a flexible 
and powerful word-processing 
program, it takes some practice 
to learn the commands. Poten- 
tial users should feel comfortable 
with Scripsit before attempting 
to learn Qwerty. Don't be 
discouraged if the first few times 
you try typing some complex 
charts or formulas, the printouts 
look rather strange. Like any 
useful skill, Qwerty must be 
practiced to be appreciated. 
(Med Systems Software, P.O, 
Box 3558, Chapel Hill. NC 
27514; $74.95.) 

D. Wilson Cooke 
October 1982 



Refware Thesaurus 
David C. Whitney 
Associates Inc. 
Models I or III 



Put a thesaurus on disk and 
save yourself some thumb wear. 
At first blush, it sounds like an 
unimpeachable idea. But unfor- 
tunately, it is an idea that lives 
and dies by its host— the 
microcomputer. 

The Refware Thesaurus con- 
sists of three 514 -inch disks, one 
each of nouns and adjectives 
and one builder allowing you to 
create a specialized thesaurus of 
up to 6,200 words. Each disk is 
sold separately; verbs and 
adverbs are in the prototype 
stage along with a Model II 
version. 

All three programs are very 
easy to use, so much so that the 
three user's manuals seem 



264 



WORD PROCESSORS 



almost superfluous. The 
thesaurus displays or prints a 
list of 10 synonyms. However, 
unlike a conventional thesaurus, 
it also inserts the synonyms for 
the word you want replaced in 
your sentence. After you compile 
your first set of 10 synonymous 
sentences, the thesaurus asks if 
it should find a different group of 
alternate words for your noun or 
adjective. If you reply positively, 
the program determines if it has 
such a group and, if so, either 
lists or prints the set. 

All this is done very quick- 
ly—faster than a search through 
a conventional thesaurus, if you 
find a suitable word in the first 
list the program gives you. 
Chances are, however, you 
won't. Here's why: 

Under the word agreement, 
for example, a conventional 
thesaurus lists 13 synonym 
categories. Most times, you can 
immediately spot the category 
closest to the meaning of the 
word you are looking for. With 
Refware, the computer chooses 
the category. If it isn't the cor- 
rect one, you must request 
another group of words. This 
adds to the time it takes to find a 
synonym. Also, you never know 
if there is another synonym set, 
so every time you call up one 
set, you must call up another to 
see if there is one and if it has a 
more suitable word. 

While the microcomputer the- 
saurus is initially faster than 
finding a word manually, it often 
seems like it is taking longer 
because you spend time waiting, 
while time spent thumbing 
through a printed thesaurus is 
time spent doing. 

The Refware Thesaurus, due 
to disk space considerations, ex- 
cludes words with more than 12 



letters. It contains 6,200 nouns 
and the same number of adjec- 
tives. This is a significant limita- 
tion when you consider the 
fourth edition of Roget's book, 
published by Harper & Row, 
contains 250,000 words. 

Another limitation of the 
microcomputer thesaurus is that 
it cannot be accessed while you 
are in a word-processing pro- 
gram. If you are composing with 
a word processor and need a 
synonym, you have to break out 
of that program, load Disk Basic, 
load the thesaurus, find a 
synonym, break out of Disk 
Basic, reload the word processor, 
call up the file you were working 
on, and insert the word you were 
looking for. A cumbersome pro- 
cess, to say the least. 

The eight utility programs in 
the thesaurus are sold separately 
as a builder enabling you to con- 
struct a reference work and 
possibly make some extra 
cash— if you compile a special- 
ized thesaurus that may be 
useful to others in a given field 
or profession and Refware judges 
it to be commercially viable, 
they'll market it and pay you 
royalties. The builder lets you 
enter synonyms in the same 
groups-of-10 format, with "dum* 
my" used to reserve spaces in 
blocks with fewer than 10 
words; it also allows listing or 
printing the blocks or all the 
words in your thesaurus in 
alphabetical order. 

According to Refware author 
Whitney, who has edited the 
World Book Encyclopedia, Ency- 
clopedia Americana, and 
Reader's Digest Almanac, 
"With the ever-expanding 
memory size and storage 
capacities of microcomputers, it 
seems likely that massive 



255 



SOFTWARE 



printed reference works like a 
(Roget's) thesaurus will soon go 
the way of the dinosaur." After 
viewing the Refware programs, 
Roget's heirs needn't sweat over 
loss of royalties . . . not for a 
while yet. 

(David C. Whitney Associates 
Inc., P.O. Box 45 1, Chappaqua, 
NY 10514: The Thesaurus 2.0 
now sells for $89.95 and con- 
sists of 24,800 words. The 
builder is sold separately for 
$149.95, as are the noun, adjec- 
tive, adverb, and verb packages 
for $24.95. All are for the Model 
I and III with 48K, two disk 
drives.) 

John P. Mello Jr. 
April 1982 

"w 'm "W' 

Scrip232 (Scripmode) 
Small Systems Software 
Model I and III 

Having trouble with your non- 
Radio Shack printer with Scrip- 
sit? Scrip232 (advertised as 
Scripmod) is a program that 
customizes Scripsit for use with 
your serial printer. 

Installation is straightforward. 
Detailed instructions tell you 
how to use the tapedisk utility to 
create a file called 
Scrip232/CMD. On execution, 
the program asks eight ques- 
tions which it uses to customize 
Scripsit to work with your par- 
ticular printer. 

You decide whether to modify 
the uppercase or lowercase ver- 
sion of Scripsit. The selected ver- 
sion of Scripsit is loaded into 
memory by Scrip232. Next, you 
can modify Scripsit for use with 
either the TRS232 or RS232-C 
interfaces. 

Since some printers require a 



line feed to advance paper, and 
since Scripsit sends a carriage 
return but no line feed at the end 
of each line, Scrip232 will 
modify Scripsit to add a line feed 
after each carriage return. 

Additionally, Scrip232 adds 
handshake control, automatic 
line feeds, and characters to the 
serial driver contained in 
Scripsit. 

In summary, I'm very pleased 
with Scrip232. 1 think it's a real 
bargain. Judging by reader let- 
ters in the computer magazines, 
many people are having trouble 
getting Scripsit to work with 
non-Radio Shack printers. If you 
have a serial printer and either a 
TRS232 or RS232-C interface, 
Scrip232 may solve the problem. 
(Small Systems Software, P.O. 
Box 366, Newbury, CA 91320, 
could not be reached for update 
information. Scripmod original- 
ly soldfor $14.95.) 

John A. Records 
April 1981 

Scripsit 1.0 
(See Page 243) 

Scripsit 2.0 

(See Pages 246 and 250) 

Select Word Processing 
(See Page 250) 

"^ "^ ■^ "V ^ 

Spell 'N Fi3£ 

Star-Kits 
Color Computer 

Spell 'N Fix is a program for 
finding and correcting spelling 
errors in Color Computer text 
files. It compares each word with 
entries in a dictionary file, iden- 
tifies words that do not appear 
there, and displays or prints 



256 



WORD PROCESSORS 



them. You can mark suspect 
words for later correction in a 
new version of the text material, 
and you can customize the dic- 
tionary to reflect your 
vocabulary. Spell 'N Fix, an 
adaptation of Magic Spell, is 
unique in that it is also available 
in the Flex format. 

Spell 'N Fix operates on ASCII 
files so it is compatible with 
most Color Computer text pro- 
cessors. I have used it with Color 
Scripsit (using the print-to-tape 
option), CC Writer, Super Color 
Writer, and Telewriter. 
Telewriter doesn't produce 
ASCII material, but rather core- 
image (binary) files. Spell 'N Fix 
and the disk version of 
Telewriter include conversion 
programs to take care of the 
mismatch. 

I reviewed the disk version of 
Spell 'N Fix. The cassette ver- 
sion is much less flexible, and I 
question its utility over the long 
haul; cassettes have too many 
restrictions for the kind of file 
shuffling that a program of this 
nature requires. 

Spell 'N Fix is easy to run, 
although there are many options 
to declare. It has lots of screen 
prompts and an excellent 
manual to lead you along. The 
disk contains nine files, but only 
three are involved in an elemen- 
tary spelling correction run: 
SPELLFIX/BAS, the loader and 
interface program; SPELL- 
FIX/BIN, the machine-language 
spelling checker; and DICT/DAT, 
the dictionary file, which con- 
tains just under 20,000 words in 
a special compressed format. 

Once the text file is located 
and opened, there is a prompt— 
you are asked to specify the 
kinds of words that Spell 'N Fix 
is to examine. The choices are 



any group of characters (ex- 
cluding certain punctuation 
marks) enclosed by spaces or 
carriage returns, or only what 
the program considers rea- 
sonable words. 

Spell 'N Fix reads the text file, 
constructing in memory an 
alphabetized list of all distinct 
words to be compared with the 
dictionary. This is the key to 
processing large files. English 
text is very redundant; the 
number of different words in a 
large sample is much smaller 
than the total number of words. 
The manual claims that Spell 'N 
Fix can handle files of up to 
400,000 characters in a 32K 
system. The program read my 
test file in about 1 minute, 50 
seconds. 

Next, Spell 'N Fix asks for the 
name of the dictionary file to be 
used; in the early going, this is 
the stock dictionary. You can 
add new words to the dictionary 
at this time. The program reads 
as much of the dictionary as fits 
into memory along with the list 
of distinct words, and when 
it has done so, it compares 
the two. 

Words that do not match the 
dictionary are printed on the 
screen (and on the printer, if that 
option was chosen) in alpha- 
betical order. The process is 
repeated in steps until all of the 
dictionary has been read and 
compared with the input text. 

Several options are presented 
when the first misspelled word is 
encountered. You can ignore a 
given word, mark it for future 
correction, or mark all such find- 
ings in the remainder of the text. 
The latter option is as close as 
Spell 'N Fix comes to fully 
automatic operation; using it, 
my file was processed in just 



257 



SOFTWARE 



under two minutes. The other 
options call for an operator deci- 
sion every time a misspelling is 
detected. The decision to ignore 
such a finding is not always 
easy; the program recognizes 
specialized technical Jargon, but 
proper names and control codes 
sometimes cause confusion. 

Operating Spell 'N Fix is not as 
cumbersome as it sounds. Here 
is a summary of the entire pro- 
cess for a one-drive system, 
assuming that an ASCII text file 
is available at the outset; 

Load Spell 'N Fix 

Insert text file disk 

Read in and process file. 

Insert. Spell 'N Fix disk. Read 
in dictionary and prepare a list 
of misspellings. 

Insert text file disk. Reread 
original file and prepare a new 
one with errors changed or 
marked. 

The dictionary furnished with 
Spell 'N Fix contains not quite 
20,000 words. This limit was 
originally chosen so there would 
be room for the user to construct 
a second customized copy on a 
dedicated dictionary disk. 

The Spell 'N Fix disk also con- 
tains a number of utility pro- 
grams. In addition to Build and 
BINCON, there are SAM- 
PLE/DAT, a short piece of text 
used for teaching the system; 
and LIST/BAS, which prints the 
contents of ASCII text files. 
RESET/BAS, which flushes 
everything and returns the com- 
puter to its norma] wake-up 
state; EXPAND/BAS, which con- 
verts the Spell 'N Fix dictionary 
from its normal compressed 
form to an expanded form in 
which it can be edited. This is 
the only way to remove words 
from the dictionary, but the 
manual points out that Expand 



may take several hours to per- 
form the complete conversion. 

The time Spell 'N Fix takes to 
process one file is not 
unreasonable, although its use 
on a single-drive system is un- 
nerving. One solution to this 
problem was to copy my work- 
ing dictionary onto each disk 
used for text files. This mini- 
mized the disk swapping, at the 
cost of 31 or 32 grans per disk. 

Spell 'N Fts does its job and 
adds a little more profes- 
sionalism to Color Computer 
text processing. 
(Star^Kits, P.O. Box 209, Mt 
Kisco, NY 10549; $69.29 
cassette, $89.29 disk.) 

Scott Norman 
November 1982 



Subscript 5.0 
{See Page 244) 



■^ "^ "^ "^ 

Super Color Writer 1.0 
Nelson Software 
Color Computer 

Veteran hackers, who 
remember the Cenozoic Era of 
personal computer word pro- 
cessing, must be scratching their 
heads over how fast software for 
the Color Computer has come of 
age. Nothing illustrates that 
coming of age better than this of- 
fering by Nelson Software. 

Super Color Writer is a ma- 
chine-language program allow- 
ing you to edit text anywhere on 
your screen. It contains most 
editing functions found in high- 
powered word processors. You 
can insert text by the line or 
character; delete by character, 
line, or block; locate, change, or 
delete any string of characters; 



258 



WORD PROCESSORS 



and copy. move, or delete text 
blocks. 

In text mode, the screen is 
black with a green command 
line across the top. Hitting clear 
twice puts you in the command 
mode, where you can clear all 
text from the buffer, before or 
after the cursor. You also acti- 
vate the locate function from this 
mode; a string may be located 
exactly as you type it in or you 
can "mask" the search so it will 
ignore uppercase/lowercase dis- 
tinctions. 

The only way to clear all the 
text in the buffer is through the 
Clear command or cutting the 
power to the computer. We reset 
our CC with text in the buffer 
and Super Color Writer and the 
text was still there after reboot. 

In the text mode, in addition to 
the left-, right-, up-, and down- 
arrow key motions, there are 
nine additional cursor move- 
ments activated by pressing 
clear and a letter: bottom or top 
of CRT, start or end of text, start 
or end of line, back or aihead 15 
lines, and pre-set tabbing at 5, 8, 
16, 20, and 24 spaces. 

Anyone using their computer 
with a black-and-white monitor 
will have difficulty using this 
program. It uses colored blocks 
to identify functions and 
modes— white when clear is hit. 
blue for character insert, orange 
for a block marker, and so forth. 
This makes it easy to find things 
when scrolling text and to keep 
track of what mode you're in. 
Most control functions take two 
keystrokes, which improves typ' 
ing speed over word processors 
requiring two keys to be held 
down simultaneously. 

Once we began typing, we 
found the major flaw in Super 
Color Writer: It has no lowercase 



character set. Uppercase char- 
acters are displayed as light capi- 
tals on a black background and 
lowercase as dark capitals on a 
light background. 

Super Color Writer's chief 
competitor. Telewriter (produced 
by Cognitec of Del Mar, CA). ad- 
dressed that problem by incor- 
porating a software-generated 
lowercase character set in its 
word processor. Dan Nelson said 
his firm rejected that option so 
there would be more room for 
text— 8,446 characters available 
after loading in a 16K Color 
Computer, compared to 2,200 
(less than two double-spaced 
typed pages) for Telewriter. 

Super Color Writer's block 
commands are simpler and more 
powerful than its competitor's. 
Unlike Telewriter or Model I or 
III Scripsit, the program contains 
a true block move; when it 
moves a block, it erases the 
original block automatically. 

The word processor automati- 
cally chains files in memory. If 
you have one file there, you can 
load as many more as you want 
until memory is full. This 
wrinkle proved very valuable in 
dealing with the vagaries of 
CLOADing. 

Another feature allows you to 
write Basic programs, save them 
in ASCII format, and run them 
under Basic. This is handy be- 
cause the full screen editing 
commands of a word processor 
are superior to the line-oriented 
ones of Basic. 

Super Color Writer also gives 
you a programmable function, in 
which you can include up to 28 
commands, keystrokes, or 
modes, and have them all ex- 
ecuted up to 65,535 times 
automatically. For cassette file- 
linking, you can tell the com- 



259 



SOFTWARE 



puter how many files you want 
loaded and printed and it does it 
without your touching the key- 
board again. 

There are functions for head- 
ers, footers, automatic centering, 
and including codes for your 
printer's special features. The 
printing section of the documen- 
tation is sketchy. The authors. 
Nelson explained, assume users 




have intimate knowledge of their 
printer before using Super Color 
Writer. 

The software has default 
values set for perfectly centering 
text on 8V2-by-l 1-inch paper. 
However, you can set your 
values for margins, justification, 
page numbering, page length, 
and header and footer location. 
You can also pause printing by 
hitting the space bar during a 
print run. 

Super Color Writer is designed 
to operate out of the serial port of 
the Color Computer. It will not 
work with Micro-Labs Inc.'s 
CPRINT parallel printer in- 
terface. 

As state of the art: as Super 



Color Writer 1.0 is. Nelson Soft- 
ware has already released 2.0, 
which features a window mode 
allowing you to see text exactly 
as it will be printed, free-format 
cassette file-linking, disk file- 
linking for the disk version, 
headers and footers on odd or 
even pages, three programmable 
functions, a flush right margin, 
memory used and memory left 
display, and six programmable 
tabs. So Color Computer owners 
brace yourselves; a good word- 
processing program is going to 
get even better. 
(Nelson Software, P.O. Box 
19096, Minneapolis, MN 55419; 
$99.95 disk, $74.95 ROM pack, 
$49.95 cassette.) 

John P. Mello Jr. 

and Jake Commander 

September 1982 



^ ^ ^ y2 

Superscript 

Acorn Software Products Inc. 

Model I and III 

Scripsit, Radio Shack's 
TRS-80 word processor, has 
been on the market for over a 
year now, and many people have 
complained about their prob- 
lems when interfacing Scripsit to 
a non-Tandy printer. Com- 
puterists said Radio Shack did 
not sell a printer that could be ef- 
fectively used as a word pro- 
cessor: In fact, many were upset 
that Radio Shack did not assist 
them in writing driver routines 
for letter-quality non-Tandy 
printers. 

Well, Acorn Software Products 
has released a short program 
that patches Scripsit so that it 
can be used with a variety of 
serial and parallel printers not 



260 



WORD PROCESSORS 



previously supported. And it 
fixes some rather troublesome 
bugs in it. 

With Superscript you can get a 
disk directory that tells how 
many free grans are left on the 
disk without losing your text file; 
kill a file while in Scripsit; create 
files that can be read by 
TRSDOS or NEWDOS; insert 
text into unjustified lines while 
printing, a necessity for generat- 
ing form letters; and protect 
drivers in high memory from be- 
ing written over by Scripsit. Fur- 
ther, if your printer has the 
capability, you can superscript 
and subscript (using normal and 
reverse half-line feed), underline, 
print in boldface, slash zeros, 
and set the printer to 10- or 
12-pitch (characters per inch) 
while printing. 

In addition to these capabili- 
ties. Acorn has fixed Scripsit so 
that you need a file-specification 
typed with the L command, thus 
eliminating the problem of ac- 
cidental text wipeout. Status 
messages printed at the bottom 
of the screen have been short- 
ened, and the keyboard driver is 
faster without disrupting the 
video display. Custom drivers 
are supplied for the Diablo and 
NEC 5530 printers, both serial 
and parallel versions, and a 
custom driver lets you design 
your own, also serial or parallel. 

Superscript's directory com- 
mand works great, except that 
you cannot get a list of the invisi- 
ble or system files or the file 
allocation specifications. Except 
for that, I have found little to 
complain about. 

The drivers supplied on the 
disk are easy to use and well ex- 
plained in the pamphlet. I use 
the recently introduced Radio 
Shack Daisy Wheel II printer. 



and was upset to find that it has 
many features not supported by 
Scripsit: I was, however, very 
pleased to discover that it can 
use every Superscript option, 
though I did have to cheat a little 
on the boldface feature (using 
the command sequence 
1B,01,08 and the custom 
parallel driver, since the Daisy 
Wheel II is too new to have a 
driver on the Acorn disk). I still 
cannot use most of the special 
characters on the printwheel, 
but at least I can use the addi- 
tional brackets, braces, and caret 
symbols, thanks to Acorn. 
(Acorn Software Products Inc., 
634 North Carolina Ave. S.E., 
Washington, DC 20003; 32K 
disk, $50.) 

Terry Kepner 
March 1981 



■^ ^ ^ 1/2 
Telewriter 
Cognitec 
Color Computer 

With Telewriter, Color Com- 
puter word processing becomes 
a big-league affair. Telewriter of- 
fers full-screen editing with 
many of the cursor-control 
features found in professional 
text-editing packages. It has 
most of the print formatting and 
cassette file-handling features 
you might want, plus a few 
specialties of its own. Telewriter 
employs a software-defined 
character set to put 24 lines of 
51 characters each on the video 
screen. That is a respectable 
fraction of a double-spaced text 
page and makes the full-screen 
editing meaningful. 

Full-screen editing is one of 
Telewriter's outstanding 



261 



SOFTWARE 



features. You can move the cur- 
sor, which marks your location 
for text entry or deletion, 
anywhere over the displayed 
text, at any rate of speed. You 
can also scroll the text in either 
direction. Finally, Telewriter 
doesn't distinguish between text 
entry, deletion, or editing modes. 
Type in your material and alter 
it as you go along; you can see 
a significant amount of it at 
any time. 

This free-wheeling operating 
mode as well as the real lower- 
case character set, (which 
resembles 5-by-7 matrix print- 
ing), lets you direct most of your 
energy towards thinking and 
composing. There is relatively 
little need to be concerned with 
control keys and the computer 
until you format the material for 
printing. 

Telewriter is a machine- 
language program requiring a 
minimum of 16K of RAM. Since 
Telewriter itself occupies over 
6,400 bytes, 32K is better in 
terms of storage capability. A 
16K machine can store just over 
2,200 characters, a 32K enables 
you to store about 18,500 
characters. 

Getting Started 

The program is supplied on 
cassette, recorded once on each 
side. It also contains a text file 
for demonstration purposes. The 
documentation is quite complete 
and takes the form of two 
manuals: a 27-page tutorial and 
a 33-page reference manual. An 
additional sheet summarizing 
the commands is also furnished. 

There are two menus: main 
and format. The main menu 
comes up when you load the 
program and give the EXEC 
command; it is used to read or 



save a cassette file, create or edit 
text in RAM, and perform other 
chores. 

The format menu, accessed by 
the F command, controls the 
printing format and instnicts the 
computer regarding the number 
of files to be chain printed. You 
can also embed many of the for- 
mat menu's commands in your 
text in order to change such 
parameters as line spacings, 
margins, and printing fonts on 
the fly. Menus are displayed in 
standard reverse video, and 
most commands require only a 
single-letter response. Where ad- 
ditional input such as a 
numerical value for setting a 
printed parameter is required, 
the familiar flashing Basic cursor 
appears at the appropriate spot 
on the format menu. 

You enter text by using the 
main menu's C (Create) com- 
mand. The display switches to a 
white screen with a flashing L 
for a cursor and a small black 
rectangle for an end-of-text 
marker. Anything you enter at 
this point will be in Telewriter's 
software-defined font. The usual 
shift/zero combination is retained 
for uppercase lock. The shift 
gives any arrow key a fast auto- 
repeat, while Clear is a special 
control key. It enables you to 
make the cursor skip to the top 
or the bottom of a text file using 
the up or down arrows, or to the 
beginning or end of a given 
screen line with the horizontal 
arrows. 

Clear lets you define other 
keystrokes as commands, rather 
than text, in this mode. 

If you place the cursor 
somewhere in the middle of a 
block of text and begin to type, 
the new material is added to the 
old; you don't type over 



262 



WORD PROCESSORS 



anything. In the same way, 
backspacing over text doesn't 
erase it. The Break key alone 
erases the character immediate- 
ly to the right of the cursor. The 
Clear-Break combination erases 
the character to the cursor's left 
There are also simple methods 
for erasing complete lines or 
large blocks of text. 

Telewriter has many other 
commands for moving and 
changing text, and most of them 
use Clear to define a control 
function in a similar way. 

The Cassette Handler 

The cassette-handler portion of 
the main menu provides the 
means for storing and retrieving 
text. It's commands allow you to 
read a cassette file into memory, 
append a text file from tape to 
the end of any file in RAM, write 
all or part of a file from RAM to 
tape, and verify that such 
writing was successful. 

Cassette-handler commands 
consist of a single letter (or the 
percent sign, in the case of par- 
tial save). Each results in the ap- 
pearance of the Basic's flashing 
block cursor next to the selected 
command as the program awaits 
a file name. You can skip the file 
name in all cases, but it is a poor 
idea to write an unnamed file to 
tape. The procedure for saving a 
portion of a file requires you to 
first go into the editor and mark 
the end of the desired portion by 
pressing Clear-E. You then move 
the cursor to the beginning of 
the segment as though you were 
deleting it, return to the main 
menu with Clear-M, and enter 
the/command. 

The Verify command allows 
you to check a tape record to 
make certain that it can be read 
properly, without destroying the 



text file in memory. 

Another handy command. 
Clear- W, displays the number of 
words in the text buffer, along 
with a count of the number of 
lines into which the text is for- 
matted at any particular time. It 
also tells you how many spaces 
(characters or carriage returns) 
are still available. The part of the 
menu that displays this informa- 
tion also gives the name of the 
last file read or appended from 
cassette. This helps you keep 
track of your file names when 
you are chaining many together 
for printing. 

Formatting and Text Printing 

The main menu's F command 
brings up the format menu. This 
displays the defaults for the 
basic format parameters: line 
spacing and length; the left, top 
and bottom margins; the 
number of lines per page; and 
the baud rate (encoded accord- 
ing to a table in the documenta- 
tion). You can reset any of them, 
and also specify several others: 
the starting page number of the 
file in memory; the number of 
files to be chain printed; and 
whether or not the printer is 
to pause at the bottom of 
each page. There is a special 
font command for MX-80 users 
as well. 

The format parameters only 
need to be set once if you are 
chain printing several files. If 
you desire page numbers, make 
the appropriate non-zero entry 
for the starting page of the first 
file. Telewriter keeps track of the 
line count and the page number 
across file boundaries during 
printing. 

Telewriter's embedded com- 
mands are defined by a special 
leading character— an upward 



^« %ej^%^ 



SOFTWARE 



pointing caret— generated by- 
pressing Clear and then the 
period. You can use everything 
mentioned so far, except for the 
MX-80 font and the number of 
files in the printing queue, in an 
embedded command. 

A few print commands that 
don't control standard format 
parameters also use the embed- 
ded command syntax. You can 
center a title by prefixing it with 
a caret and an asterisk. You can 
print a header at the top of every 
page of a file but the first, using 
the H format code. One of 
Telewriter's very few bugs oc- 
curs when you use headers. If a 
header definition is followed by 
two carriage returns, it fails to 
print at the top of the second 
page; it doesn't begin until the 
third. This bug has now been 
eliminated, but Telewriter pur- 
chasers should check out their 
own copies of the program. 

While Telewriter may lack 
some of the features of word pro- 
cessors designed to run on 
larger, business-oriented 
machines, it gives the Color 
Computer respectability as a 
document preparation center for 
the home or school. I feel that 
the combination of full-screen 
editing and the very respectable 
font give the program real ad- 
vantages. 

The Color Computer still lacks 
a word processor with a file- 
merging capability. It is not yet 
possible to write a letter with 
variable data in the address and 
salutation fields and merge it 
with a mailing list, for example, 
but Telewriter remains a fine 
program. At $49.95 it is the 
most expensive of the Color 
Computer word processors, but 
it is well worth the price. 
(Cognitec, 704 Nob Ave., Del 



Mar, CA 92014; $49.95 cassette, 
$59.95 disk.) 

Scott L. Norman 
May 1982 



**** 

Word 

Micro Architect 

Model I, II, and HI 

Micro Architect offers a low- 
cost group of programs for word 
processing under the group 
heading Word. 

Word2 is a 16K cassette-based 
program designed for TRS-80 
Level II. Words and Word4 are 
similar programs for a disk- 
based Model I, and Word-M2 is a 
Model II program. I ordered 
Word4. 

The disk contains four files 
and enough TRSDOS program- 
ming to enable it to run on a 
one-disk system. Two of the files 
were WordS and Word4; the 
other two were text files that 
either could be listed or format- 
ted with Word, consisting of in- 
structions on how to use Word. 
A 12-page manual that came 
with the disk is adequate only 
for someone fairly familiar with 
computers and basic word pro- 
cessing. 

There are slight variations in 
different versions of Word, but 
all are based on the same philos- 
ophy. It is written in Basic so 
that the program is relatively 
easy to modify and use. It also 
runs more slowly than a pro- 
gram written in machine lan- 
guage. 

Word takes a text file prepared 
independently of the processing 
program and formats it into a 
printed document. The text file 



264 



WORD PROCESSORS 



is prepared using Basic, with 
line numbers and all, using 
about 20 special format in- 
structions appropriately inter- 
spersed within the text. The edit 
function allows text editing at 
any time. 

Word4 is a slightly enhanced 
version of WordS. Both pro- 
grams are for a standard disk- 
based machine using TRSDOS 
or NEWDOS. Word4 has the 
ability to generate lowercase 
characters sent to the printer 
even if they aren't displayed on 
the video monitor. Because of 
the software needed, Word4 
runs more slowly than Word3» 
but where WordS can accept 
only one text file and process it, 
Word4 can accept several text 
files and chain them together for 
printing longer documents. 
Word4 can also number lines in 
the formatted document so that 
they correspond with those in 
the text file. 

The only serious problem I en- 
countered was in using the for- 
mat instructions incorrectly 
when I prepared the text file. It 
is possible to get Word hung in 
an infinite loop if the commands 
are not used properly, but a little 
experience will solve such 
problems. For the price, Word 
works well. 

(Micro Architect, 96 Dothan St.. 
Arlington, MA 021 74; Model II 
packages $49-$69, Model I and 
III packages $20-$69.) 

D. Wilson Cooke 
August 1981 



Word-IV 
(See Page 43) 



Wordsmitli 
ABS Suppliers 
Model I and III 

Wordsmith is an inexpensive 
word-processing program writ- 
ten in Basic in two versions: one 
for 16K machines without disk, 
the other for 32K machines with 
at least one disk drive. The 16K 
version lacks the disk version's 
search and kill functions, and re- 
quires the B-17 Tape Operating 
System marketed by ABS to run. 
The disk version comes on cas- 
sette and can be CLOADed 
under Disk Basic, then saved 
to disk. 

Wordsmith might satisfy a 
hobbyist interested in playing 
around with word processing for 
casual letter writing or keeping a 
diary, but it will not suit those 
who have more demanding writ- 
ing applications. Typists who 
work at moderate to rapid 
speeds will find that Wordsmith 
has difficulty keeping up with 
them, often losing characters 
and occasionally locking up 
completely until typing stops. 

The instructions are clearly 
written and accurate. You 
should be able to use Wordsmith 
without difficulty the first time 
you load it. 

Wordsmith allows a length of 
up to 60 characters and features 
word wraparound. Unfortunate- 
ly, it does not allow simulta- 
neous composition and editing, 
and its menu-oriented design is 
a definite disadvantage. Word- 
smith's editing functions are 
cumbersome. 

Once you have written your 
text, Wordsmith allows several 
means of formatting its ap- 
pearance. Designed for use with 
the MX-80 printer, Wordsmith 



265 



SOFTWARE 



provides several functions 
related to that printer's 
capabilities, including specified 
print density, emphasized strike, 
and double strike. 

Wordsmith doesn't even have 
a way of exiting the program. In 
comparison with more expen- 
sive, more sophisticated word- 
processing programs, it has little 
to offer, but its low price is hard 
to argue with. If you want to 
make serious use of microcom- 
puter word processing, though, 
look elsewhere. 

(ABS Suppliers, 3352 Chelsea 
Circle, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; 
$14.95 cassette or disk Model I. 
disk only Model III.) 

Hugh M. Ruppersburg 
June/July 1982 



IVI lOVa^tLLfTW t\i#U V 



-^ ^ -^ 

Aircraft Instrument 
Approach Siimilator 
J.C. Sprott 
Model I or III 

Do not look upon Aircraft In^ 
strument Approach Simulator as 
a game. It is a simulation involv- 
ing flight. An individual un- 
familiar with instrument flying 
will not know how to make the 
simulator work and will pro- 
bably crash often. 

The program comes on 
cassette with a description of 
aviation terms as well as a 
diagram of a typical approach 
and an explanation of the screen 
display. 

In spite of these materials, 
neophytes might find the screen 



somewhat mystifying. The 
description neglects the artificial 
horizon, but after "flying" the 
thing for a while, that becomes 
obvious. Nonpilots might be con^ 
fused by the localizer ftinction, 
since the simple statements 
about flying to or away from the 
needle in front-course versus 
back-course situations will not 
make much sense. 

However, this program is lots 
of fun, somewhat of a challenge, 
and a learning experience for a 
student or pilot who is familiar 
with instrument flying and 
wants some simulator practice. 

The program has some 
drawbacks. You enter numbers 
from the keypad to direct the air- 
craft. Unfortunately, these are 
often combined, and it is 
sometimes unclear how to get 
out of a turn while climbing or 
descending and still maintain 
the climb or descent. The four 
arrows should have been used, 
and a small range of numbers 
should indicate power changes. 
Power can only be increased or 
decreased very slowly. This is ar- 
tificial. 

You specify the field elevation 
and the landing heading as well 
as wind direction, speed, and 
turbulence. I like programs that 
select all these things for me. It 
is more realistic, since even in a 
situation in which you know the 
wind characteristics on the 
ground and at altitude, you must 
always "feel out" wind condi- 
tions during an approach and 
experiment until the approach is 
set up. Knowing the exact wind 
throughout takes away some of 
the challenge. 

Considering the price of the 
program and the amount of fun 
someone interested in flying is 
likely to have with the program, 



266 



MISCELLANEOUS 



I recommend it. It works and so 
will you! 

(Addendum: Since this review 
was written, Mr. Sprott has in- 
corporated some of Mr. Gorsky's 
suggestions.) 

(J.C. Sprott, Madison, WI 53715; 
$9.95.) 

Buzz Gorsky 
February 1982 

* 

Astrology 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

If your only previous ex- 
perience with astrology is the 
column in the newspaper or the 
scales at the dime store, you 
probably won't be able to use 
most of the information produced 
by this software. However, if you 
are a professional charter, you're 
going to wonder what happened 
to some very important infor- 
mation. 

The nonprofessional user, who 
is less likely to have a printer, 
will find it hard to assimilate the 
long lists of data. That's why 
charts were developed. Yet the 
documentation to this particular 
program doesn't tell you how to 
make one. 

The professional, who is more 
likely to own a printer, knows 
how to make his own charts. So 
why write a program that only 
generates a chart on the printer? 

If the program was written 
with the professional in mind, 
then why doesn't it give 
heliocentric (sun-centered) 
aspects along with the geocen- 
tric (earth-centered) ones? Where 
is the meridian sign? The 
sidereal (star-relative) time? Why 
are the calculations only ac- 
curate for the 20th century? 

The program shortchanges 




both the professional and the 
beginner. It appears that Radio 
Shack software developers only 
got halfway on this one. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $19.95 
cassette.) 

Dennis Thurlow 
May 1981 



Aiitobasic 

Schneider Enterprises 

Model I 

Autobasic is a Basic program 
that writes Basic programs. It 
comes on disk with three pro- 
grams, ABAS, ABRUN, and 
SUBR, and a minimal DOSPLUS 
operating system. This is nice 
for TRSDOS users, since 
TBASIC allows almost 40K of 
usable RAM for Basic. 

After loading Tiny Basic and 
running the main program, 
ABAS, you are presented with a 
menu of several options, includ- 
ing entering equations from key- 
board, loading program ele- 
ments from or saving to disk, 
correcting or reordering ele- 
ments, reordering the equations 



26: 



SOFTWARE 



for a subroutine, and entering a 
recursive conditional structure. 

The program accepts Basic 
equations as input and writes 
the program using these. 
Autobasic distinguishes between 
simple and array equations; the 
former contain all simple 
variables and the latter contain 
one or more arrays. ABAS writes 
the file to disk and ABRUN com- 
piles it into Basic form, routing 
all output to the printer, screen, 
or to a disk file. Once this file is 
read in (from PFILE), it is 
operated on and then written to 
disk (in WFILE). Then, the 
created program is loaded and 
executed. 

Autobasic puts in a Let state- 
ment for assignment statements, 
making it difficult to use the 
finished program. For example, 
if you are trying to insert a 
DEFFN statement, you'll get a 
syntax error on "LET DEF FN 
F(X)=..." 

There is no simple way to 
enter interactive For . . . Next 
schemes for non-array equations 
within Autobasic or for grouping 
array equations within a single 
For . . . Next loop. The condi- 
tional format only allows com- 
parison of a variable to a con- 
stant. The created programs are 
not written in a time-efficient or 
memory-efficient manner for 
iterative programs, and you can- 
not use the program flexibly to 
create such a structure. 

The program allows you to 
reorder equations but not to 
reorder and place in a 
subroutine. If you do, it forgets 
its new order. If you enter the 
subroutine first, when you 
reorder your program it forgets 
that you have a subroutine. 

Autobasic has some good 
features that, if properly im- 



plemented, are a great addition 
for a programmer to write error- 
free code. An example is SUBR 
which lets you enter sub- 
routines. Since you will have 
trouble matching the variables, 
this routine allows a global 
editor to change all occurrences 
of that variable to some other 
variable, and will not make these 
changes inside Basic reserved 
words. You can, therefore, 
change T to G without changing 
GOTO to GOGO. 

As implemented, you can use 
a full-screen editor better for 
Basic than Autobasic (and much 
cheaper, too), but if Autobasic is 
rewritten so that it is a usable 
broduct, you will appreciate this 
feature. 

On a scale from 1 to 10, the 
manual rates a solid 1. It was 
totally unreferenced, with no 
table of contents, no index, and 
no page numbers. It is also poor- 
ly written and difficult to read. 

More limitations: Only single- 
dimensioned array variables are 
allowed. Autobasic does not sup- 
port DEF FN, and I/O is not sup- 
ported to disk or cassette. The 
program is also not error- 
trapped; entering a routine out 
of sequence (the manual doesn't 
mention the correct sequence) 
often leads to redimensioned ar- 
ray errors causing the program 
to exit to command mode, and 
invalid data is not checked. The 
reordering doesn't work under 
some circumstances, and the 
program incorrectly parses some 
statements with parentheses, 
such as df = (dl ~d2)/h, and 
thinks that this is an array 
equation. 

The program has great poten- 
tial if these major problems are 
removed. Schneider Enterprises' 
approach is fine and potentially 



268 



MISCELLANEOUS 



useful, but the limitations are so 
debilitating that I cannot recom- 
mend its purchase. I hope these 
suggestions can be incorporated 
into an Autobasic revision. With 
some work, this could be an ex'- 
cellent product. 

(Schneider Enterprises, 1252 N. 
Brownslake Road, Burlington, 
WI 53105; $95.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
September 1982 



■^ "^ "^ 

Computer Downs 
Ernest H. Fellows 
Model I 

There are many lessons to be 
learned at the race track. Ernest 
Fellows and John Cater put 
together a TRS-80 16K, Level 11 
program that runs on cassette to 
take a lot of the guessing out of 
picking out a winner. 

The documentation is well 
organized. It asks for quite a bit 
of information about each horse. 
This is to your advantage, since 
the accuracy of the program's 
predictions depends upon the 
number of relevant factors con- 
sidered. 

The program is easy to use. If 
you make a mistake, the left ar- 
row erases it. The more critical 
answers use error-trapping. The 
screen formatting is well 
organized. Above the input 
prompts, a table continually 
displays the previously input in- 
formation and a calculated speed 
rating for each horse. 

Although the program is 
designed well, runs smoothly, 
and seems to be free of bugs, it 
lacks a few features that would 
enhance its usefulness. A print- 
out option would be useful so 



you could easily check your in- 
put data for errors. 

Then, if the program had an 
editing option, you could return 
to the input mode and change 
the incorrect entry and recom- 
pute the results. An editing func-^ 
tion would also let you give dif- 
ferent weight to different factors 
by changing the input data. 

Many factors should be con- 
sidered in choosing horses, but 
Computer DoAvns uses most of the 
obvious ones. Several factors it 
doesn't consider are track condi- 
tion, track surface, track surfaces of 
a horse's previous races, and 
whether the jcK^key is compatible to 
the jockey who rode the horse in 
the best of his last three races. 

When balancing the strong 
points with these negatives. Com- 
puter Downs is still an excellent 
program. It has continually proven 
its accuracy at the track. But it is 
only an aid, and it does not profess 
to remove all risk from your deci- 
sion. However, every bit of relevant 
information helps to give you a bet- 
ter idea of wliich horse is most like- 
ly to win. 

(Ernest H. Fellows, 9230 
Bingham, San Antonio, TX 
78230; $30.) 

Joel Benjamin 
February 1982 



Life List 

Manhattan Software 
Model I and ID 

My Life List program tells me I 
saw a Double-Breasted Tuna 
Grinder in Antrim, NH, last 
weekend. The weekend before, I 
ran across a Black-Billed Boot 
Stomper behind Dr. Fred's Auto 
Clinic. According to my notes, I 
blew the dirty little thing away 



269 



SOFTWARE 



with my grenade launcher. 

How I managed before 
Manhattan Software came up 
with this bird-list program I will 
never know. My closets were full 
of shoeboxes stuffed with match- 
book covers, napkins, bank 
deposit slips, grocery store 
receipts— anjrthing to scrawl a 
note on when I unexpectedly 
spied a Double-Shagged Throw 
Rug or Red-Eyed Fly Hog. 

Naturally, my notes got con- 
fused. Was it a Clip- Winged Tar- 
sucker that I flattened with my 
moped? Did I really see the rare 
Tie-Dyed Burger Bun while 
floating in my sensory depriva- 
tion tank? And where is that 
recipe for White-Crowned Spar- 
row fritters? 

Life List takes care of all my 
problems. It lets me record the 
names of some 450 birds along 
with the date and the place 
sighted and any extra notes. I 
can sort the list alphabetically 
and get a complete printout with 
the touch of a button. I can per- 
form a special search for any 
bird, using only part of its name. 

Of course, the people who 
might possibly be interested in 
this program would probably fit 
into a phone booth, with room 
left over for an hors d'oeuvres 
table. But Charles Leedham of 
Manhattan Software says this is 
the sort of specialized offbeat 
program that microcomputers 
were made for. 

After transferring my notes to 
disk, I was faced with another 
dilemma— what to do with all 
those shoeboxes. It finally 
dawned on me. They would be 
perfect for storing field 
specimens. At last my roommate 
has stopped complaining about 
those stuffed birds under the 
kitchen sink. 



(Manhattan Software, P.O. Box 
1063, Woodland Hills, CA 
91365; $24.95.) 

Eric Maloney 
May 1982 

Morse Code Transmit and 
Receive Program 
Richcraft Engineering 
Model I 

This program will send and 
receive Morse code at up to 25 
words per minute, using no pe- 
ripheral devices whatsoever. 

The cassette motor control re- 
lay, Kl, is used for the keying re- 
lay. The cassette EAR plug line is 
used for receiving Morse code 
audio derived from the station re- 
ceiver's speaker terminals. Since 
Kl wUl only handle very low 
power levels (about 6 volts at 
400-5(X) mils) it is strongly 
recommended that a 7406/7507 
TTL buffer chip or Radio Shack 
^75-004 relay be used as a buf- 
fer between the TRS-80 and the 
station transmitter. 

The initialization segment al- 
lows you to choose either alpha- 
numeric or Morse code readouts 
on the video and to choose the 
Morse transmit speed (receive 
speed is automatic). An error- 
trapping function can be used to 
obtain immediate return to the 
transmit mode. 

In that mode all generally ac- 
cepted Morse characters are pro- 
vided plus EOM (end of message) 
and EOW (end of work) by using 
the * and & symbols respectively. 
Should a keyboard character 
which has no Morse equivalent 
be entered, an error-trapping 
subroutine skips it. Twenty pre- 
pared Q signal and message for- 
mats are given. There is no limit. 



270 



MISCELLANEOUS 



except available memory, to the 
number of additional messages 
you can add. 

There is also a speed subcom- 
mand that can change the trans- 
mit code speed without rein- 
itializing the program and losing 
the data stored in the automatic 
logbook. Solo operators can prac- 
tice on alphabet alone, alpha- 
numerics, or alphanumerics and 
punctuation. 

(Richcrcfi Engineering, Drawer 
1065, Chautauqua, NY 14722.) 
Robert M. Richardson 
July 1980 



Moving Signboard 
Circle Enterprises 
Model I 

Moving Signboard is a 
machine-language program that 
stores a message and then 
displays it in a horizontal line 
that moves from right to left. A 
message of up to 1,024 letters is 
first typed on the screen and 
then stored in memory. 

Then, another message is 
typed on the screen and then 
stored in memory. Then, 
another message is typed on the 
screen, leaving at least one 
horizontal line vacant. When 
Signboard is activated, and the 
second message is constantly 
displayed on the screen while 
the first crawls across any 
chosen line. 

This program is mostly a 
novelty; its greatest potential is 
as a store window display. 
(Circle Enterprises, P.O. Box 
546, Groton, CT 06340, could 
not be reached for an update.) 
Rod Hallen 
February 1980 



■^ "^ "w w 

TRS-232 Formatter 
Small Systems Software 
Model I 

The Formatter, for use with 
the TRS-232 printer interface, 
comes complete with 17 pages of 
documentation. 

When you type RUN, the pro- 
gram POKES into high memory 
and cycles through the various 
options. Once it modifies the 
machine-language program in 
memory to reflect your choices, 
you can delete Formatter and 
load or run any of your own 
programs. 

The Formatter accepts 10 
baud rates and can be modified 
to support nonstandard baud 
rates. It generates form feeds, a 
line feed after a carriage return if 
needed, and it lets you set the 
maximum line length. 

Another great feature of the 
program is the Line Length for 
Early Termination feature. You 
can also set the number of lines 
per page and the number of 
spaces between pages. You can 
view the information as it is 
printing on the video screen and 
disable interrupts from the disk 
controller. 

The Formatter program even 
inserts an automatic keyboard 
debounce routine. To top it off, it 
contains four special features 
that make the program worth its 
price for their inclusion alone. 
The features allow you to stop 
printing at any time by simply 
pressing the space bar, stop 
listing and return to Basic by 
pressing the break key, use the 
dear key to reset the lines-per- 
page counter (if using the 
keyboard debounce routine). If 
you didn't request this routine, 
you can still reset the line 

271 



SOFTWARE 



counter by typing LPRINT 
CHR$(3). The Formatter also 
sends to the printer any informa- 
tion on the screen (barring 
graphics) making intelligent use 
of the TRON/TROFF functions of 
Level II Basic possible. 

My only complaint about For- 
matter is that you cannot set 



left-hand margins. Considering 
the complexity of the package, I 
wonder why they forgot it. 
(The TRS-232 Formatter is sold 
by Small Systems Software, 
P.O. Box 366, Newbury Park, 
CA 91320.) 

Hugo T. Jackson 
October 1980 







2m« A 



DISK DRIVES 



Color Computer Disk System 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Color Computer 

The TRS-80 Color Computer 
Disk System is for everyone, or 
at least for anyone that can af- 
ford disks. The system is easy to 
operate and requires a 16K Color 
Computer with Extended Basic. 
The 92-page manual is written 
in a style similar to Radio 
Shack's Color Basic manual, in- 
cluding sections for the program- 
mer and newcomer to program- 
ming. Its simple and direct 
language takes you slowly, and 
clearly, through the disk 
operating system (DOS), and 
features examples of the com- 
mands and Disk Basic. 

The system consists of the 
disk interface in a plug-in pro- 
gram pack cartridge, a cable, 
and a 5V4-irich disk drive. The 
cable connects to the disk inter- 
face and the disk drive with one 
free connector allowing you to 
connect a second drive, if 
desired. The interface controls 
up to four drives, but an addi- 
tional cable is required when 



adding two more drives. The 
35-track double-density 
18-sectors-per- track disks hold 
about 161 K bytes of data. 

The DOS uses only 2K of your 
system's RAM leaving you 6.4K; 
when you PCLEARl, you have a 
little over 1 IK of RAM left. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102: $599.) 

Howard Berenbon 
June/ July 1982 



•^ ^ -^ 1/2 

Color Computer Disk System 
Tandy/Madio Shack 
Color Computer 

Color Computer owners that 
have been struggling with tape 
systems need struggle no longer. 
I've been trying out the Color 
Computer disk system for over 
two months and consider it to be 
a reliable piece of equipment. 

The main benefit to any disk 
user is the ability to perform 
loads and saves reliably at high 
speed. Although the tape system 
used in the Color Computer is 
fairly reliable (and faster than 
the Model I), it suffers from the 
inherent limitations faced when 
recording any digital infonnation 
on an audio machine. 

Also important is the ability to 




2__ 



HARDWARE 



perform random access I/O on a 
disk file (more correctly referred 
to as direct access in the 
manual). 

The Color Computer Disk 
System contains a disk drive, a 
connector cable, a blank floppy 
disk, an owner's manual, and a 
cartridge that fits in the slot at 
the right side of the keyboard. 
You won't be able to use any 
peripherals that use the car- 
tridge slot as it is commandeered 
by the disk I/O cartridge; I'm 
puzzled as to why Radio Shack 
didn't continue the bus on from 
the back of the cartridge to allow 
further expansion to take place. 

Hooking up the drive is sim- 
ple. Turn the computer off, in- 
sert the cartridge, connect the 
cable between cartridge and 
drive, and plug in the drive and 
switch it on. All that remains is 
to switch the computer on. You 
will be greeted by a new 
message telling you that you're 
now running under Disk Extend- 
ed Color Basic. 

For users of other microcom- 
puters, the first surprise on 
powering up is that the familiar 
sound of the disk loading a 
bootstrap loader is missing. The 
Color Computer's disk operating 
system is already in the ROM 
contained in the cartridge. This 
has a couple of advantages such 
as not 'Wasting disk space with 
the operating system code and 
keeping the DOS inviolate 
against any reckless POKEs or 
errant machine-code programs. 
The disadvantages are that 
the DOS is unchangeable (being 
in ROM) and the memory used 
by it is unavailable for any 
other use. 

The drive unit itself is 
manufactured for Radio Shack 
in Japan and no labels on the 



outside give away the producer. 
However, the drive has a good 
solid feel about it and I've had no 
problems in the time I've used it. 
I also have a second Shugart 
drive hooked up to the computer 
and this has also performed 
without error. 

It's possible to have up to four 
double-density, 35-track drives 
connected, although the cable 
supplied is only configured for 
two. A second drive is more of a 
luxury on the Color Computer 
than it is on the Models I and III 
because the same amount of 
room is available on the first 
drive as on the others; 35 tracks 
of 18 sectors at 256 bytes per 
sector— that's a total of 156K 
(excluding the directory track). 
Of course, if you have large files 
or want the convenience of back- 
ing up without having to swap 
disks, you may want more than 
one drive. 

The disk system manual is ex- 
tremely well written— though it's 
in standard 8.5 by 1 1 -inch for- 
mat while the other Color Com- 
puter manuals measure 1 1 by 
8.5. It's definitely aimed at the 
novice and patiently goes 
through the A to Z of disks in a 
most understandable manner. 
Plenty of cartoons break up the 
monotony and also make the 
manual a little difficult to wade 
through as a quick reference, 
though there are'eight appen- 
dices and an index. 

The Color Computer Disk 
System is reliable, easy to use, a 
wee bit expensive, but the only 
way to go if you're serious about 
getting the most out of your Col- 
or Computer. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $599.) 

Jake Commander 
September 1982 



276 



DISK DRIVES 



^ ^ ^ 1/2 

Percom Disk Drives 
Percom Data Co. 
Model I or III 

When we began looking for a 
disk system, we wanted a 
system that had shown hard- 
ware and software success with 
other computer systems as well 
as a firm able to back up its 
product. We chose Percom Data 
Company's TFD-100 drive. 

It offers 40-track operation and 
20-millisecond track-to-track 
stepping time. It also records on 
both sides of a disk without 
needing additional holes. 

Best of all, Percom offered its 
own disk software, MicroDOS, 
which could be loaded into 
memory leaving the entire disk 
free for data and program 
storage. We purchased one 
TFD-100 drive, a two-drive 
cable, and MicroDOS. 

Essentially, MicroDOS stores 
data and programs. It doesn't 
have disk directories, passwords, 
or clock functions as TRSDOS 
has, but it does the job. Further- 
more, it is completely resident in 
less than 7K of memory. 

The manual seemed clear, but 
it wasn't complete. We contacted 
Percom, and the author of 
MicroDOS, James Stutsman, 
answered our questions. 

Since setting up the system, 
we've had no hardware prob- 
lems. But we've had several soft- 
ware questions, all answered by 
Percom and Mr. Stutsman. The 
only lingering problem is the in- 
complete manual, but Percom 
has promised a new 
manual— the perfect addition to 
a fine disk system. 
(Percom Data Co., 11220 
Pagemill Road, Dallas, TX 
75243; $399 Model I, $599 



Model III. MicroDOS is no longer 
available.) 

David BufTmgton and 
Cindy Wagner 
February 1980 

PMCSFD-51-A 
(See Page 283) 

■^ -^ -^ -^ 

QuCeS Hard Disk Subsystem 

Quality Computer Services 

Quality Computer Services 
manufactures several hard-disk 
units. I reviewed the DSK52, a 
5-inch MiniScribe hard disk, 
which is available for the Models 
I and III. The system consists 
of a cabinet containing all the 
hardware (drive mechanism, 
platters, motors, power supply, 
and cooling fan), a cable, and 
one of two operating systems on 
a floppy disk. 

The standard unit uses floppy 
disks for back-up, but QCS will 
have an optional 10-megabyte 
tape drive back-up in the same 
cabinet available by the end 
of 1982. 

The available operating 
systems are Micro-System Soft- 
ware's DOSPLUS 4.0/g, which 
comes with a full operating 
system plus utilities and 
manual, or Ix)gical Systems 
Inc.'s LDOS. The free LDOS 
system comes with hard-disk 
drivers only— you must pur- 
chase LDOS separately— and 
DOSPLUS costs an extra $225. 
LDOS is easier to install, but 
DOSPLUS runs slightly faster. 

One noticeable difference be- 
tween a hard-disk and a floppy- 
disk system is sound— a minor, 
but psychologically signiflcant, 
difference. Other than the steady 



277 



HARDWARE 



white noise made by the cooling 
fan, hardly a sound comes from 
the hard disk as it reads and 
writes information. 

The most startling discovery is 
the speed of the system. You will 
be astounded at how fast the 
system performs a series of read 
and write operations. The QCS 
hard disk can move data at the 
rate of 5 megabits per second. 

And all that room! Imagine 
reading a directory and finding 
5,000K free on each of two hard- 
disk platters. The QCS 
10-megabyte drive holds the in- 
formation on 45 double-density 
or 125 single-density disks. 
Another advantage of hard disks 
is that they extend the life of 
your floppy-disk drives. 

Most of your software will 
work with the hard disk. Excep- 
tions include Adventure Interna- 
tional's Maxi-Manager and Radio 
Shack's Profile. This software 
has routines that call specific 
disk drives and will not run on 
the hard disk. 

The QCS hard disk performed 
flawlessly in the two months I 
tested it. The manual contains 
step-by-step instructions to in- 
stall the hardware; I had the 
system up and running in less 
than a half hour. 

One serious omission in the 
manual is the fact that a hard- 
disk unit takes about a minute 
to warm up, obtain the 
necessary rpm, and stabilize. At- 
tempting to load an operating 
system loader before the drive is 
ready causes an error. 

Both operating systems re- 
quire you to engage a specially 
configured floppy disk when you 
turn on the system. The hard 
disk then becomes the master 
drive, and all operations 
originate with hard-disk pseudo- 



drive number 4. (LDOS makes 
the hard-disk platters function as 
drives and 1, while DOSPLUS 
calls them 4 and 5.) 

The hard disk lets you run 
your programs one after the 
other without having to 
remember on which disk you 
stored them. After all, on the 
hard disk you can store hun- 
dreds. The fast access time is 
also convenient. However, when 
working with data flies of less 
than 32K, word-processing files, 
or even Basic programs, the in- 
crease in speed is merely a 
minute or two per work session. 

But, if you've got mountains of 
data, or mountains of money 
and a yen for state-of-the-art 
hardware, here's a new machine 
to solve your problem. 
(Quality Computer Services, 
1 78 Main Street, Metuchen. NJ 
08840; $3,195.) 

G. Michael Vose 
October 1982 



SA800 Eight-Inch Disk Drives 
(See Page 293) 



TFD 100-1 Percom Disk Drives 
(See Page 283) 



W "m "W ^^ 

TFD- 100 Percom Disk Drives 
Percom Data Co. 
Model I 

As near as I can tell, Percom has 
the perfect disk-drive system. It 
includes the drive(s), power sup- 
plies, enclosure, shipping and, 
until recently, the connecting 
cables. Even delivery is prompt. 
I ordered the TFD- 100 system 
consisting of two WANGCO 



278 



Model 82 drives, although you 
can receive Pertec FD-200 
drives. Both support 40-track 
operation and have dual sense 
lamps so you can record on both 
sides of your disks without 
punching extra holes in the 
jackets. Some assembly is re- 
quired, but the instructions 
make it a snap. 

With each system, Percom 
also sends their PATCHPAK disk 
which tells DOS how to handle 
40-track drives. This PATCH- 
PAK requires two drives to run, 
but once updated I30S handles 
40-track drives just as well as it 
did 35-track drives. 
(The TFD-lOOs have been 
replaced with the TFD-42for 
$499. Percom Data Inc., 11220 
Pagemill Road, Dallas. TX 
75243.) 

Walter C. June 
May 1980 



-DISK DRIVE" 
CONTROLLERS 



Disk-80 
(See Page 288) 



"^ "X" W M W 

Doubler 

Percom Data Co. 
Model I 

^ ^ ^ ^ 

DOSPLUS 

Micro-System Software Inc. 

Model I and III 

One may grow rich in a 




a H 6 






number of ways, two of which 
are: develop a dramatic innova- 
tion on a useful product or sim- 
ply build a better mousetrap. 

Percom's new double-density 
system will revolutionize the 
world of disk operating. 

The Percom system has two 
parts. The hardware is a printed 
circuit board that plugs into the 
disk-controller chip socket in the 
expansion interface, a simple 
(five minute) installation. The 
hardware is totally invisible to 
your single-density system ex- 
cept that it contains Percom's 
data separator, which provides 
error-free reading of your disks. 
The magic begins when you 
boot up the double-density 
operating system. 

The Doubler is supplied with 
Percom's DBLDOS. TRSDOS 
users will have no problems; all 
TRSDOS commands are avail- 
able plus the following enhance- 
ment: the copy command will 
work with one drive and copies 
single to double, double to 
single, as well as like to like. It 
will not format or back up any- 
thing but double density. This is 
a source of aggravation. Should 



279 



HARDWARE 



you want to supply a single- 
density disk to a friend, you 
must format the disk with some 
other DOS. Further, you must 
copy each file separately with 
the DBLDOS copy command. 

Nevertheless, the hardware is 
first class. Percom could safely 
offer a money-back guarantee for 
life, because once you use dou- 
ble density, the old way seems 
like the stone age. 

The DBLDOS software is okay. 
It worked just as the manual in- 
dicated. Only seven pages are 
devoted to the operating system, 
which is sufficient because there 
is little to add to the well-written 
TRSDOS manual. One of my 
friends even figured out how to 
install the hardware without tak- 
ing the bottom off the interface 
(not recommended). 

DBLDOS, like TRSDOS, is 
satisfactory until one finds 
something that is far superior: 
Enter the better mousetrap. 

Micro-Systems Software's 
DOSPLUS double-density 
system comes with a clear, con- 
cise, and mostly complete 
28-page manual. There are 
several functions which are not 
explained in enough detail. I 
would grade the manual a B - , 
and give the operating system 
mostly straight A's. Still, is 
DOSPLUS worth $99, consider- 
ing you get DBLDOS free with 
the hardware? Here are some of 
the features. You can decide if 
they are worth the money. 

DOSPLUS double density is 
fully compatible with TRSDOS, 
and allows single-drive backup, 
copy, and so on. If you have 
lowercase hardware installed, 
upon booting up, your keyboard 
recognizes it and works like 
always. When you shift a lower- 
case letter appears. If you want 



typewriter format, shift-0 does 
the Job. The keyboard repeats 
without keybounce, nice when 
one is editing. 

The transfer mode allows one 
to copy all the visible files from 
one disk to another, which can 
save a tremendous amount of 
time. The system automatically 
recognizes disk density and sup- 
ports over 120 files; with an 
80-track double-density disk, 
one will probably run out of file 
space before disk space. 

A unique HBasic in the 
DOSPLUS system lets you go 
from Basic to a command opera- 
tion and, when the operation is 
completed, return to exactly 
where you were in the Basic pro- 
gram. This feature, plus the 
Build, Auto, and Do utilities, 
allows you to create some 
remarkable routines. 

The new printer driver allows 
forms and paging perimeters to 
be set and changed at will. 
Restore brings back files that 
have been accidentally killed (as 
long as you haven't subsequent- 
ly written over those sectors); 
Purge allows you to delete 
selected files one at a time. 
Diskdump is a display sec- 
tor/modify program that works 
with filespecs. Diskzap is an 
easy-to-use single/double disk 
editor. Crunch deletes all spaces 
not in quotes and REM state- 
ments, helpful when a Basic pro- 
gram won't quite fit in available 
memory. 

That may not happen often. A 
formatted 40-track will give over 
170K usable space and a format- 
ted 80-track over 350K. A single 
80-track drive system will now 
do the work of four 40-track 
single-density drives (with some 
limitation). Four 80-track drives 
provide over 1.4 megabytes 



280 



DISK DRIVE CONTROLLERS 



on line! 

The advantages of the Doubler 
are immediate and obvious. It's 
love at first sight. To fully ap- 
preciate the value of the 
DOSPLUS system, one must sit 
at the keyboard and use it. 
(Percom Data Co., 11220 
Pagemill Road, Dallas, TX 
75243. The original DOUBLER 
has been replaced by the 
DOUBLER II which provides, in 
addition to the original features, 
a Model I with the hardware to 
run Model HI disks; $1 69.95. An 
updated DOSPLUS from Micro 
Systems Software, 4301-18 Oak 
Circle, Boca Raton, FL 33431 , 
Model I and III version 3.5, is 
now being marketed at 
$149.95. DOSPLUS II is now 
available for the Model II and 
DOSPLUS 4.0 is available for 
the hard-disk system.) 

Stewart E. Fason 
March 1981 



-^ ^ -^ 1/2 

Drive Control Unit 

Optronics Technology 

Model II 

It has long bothered me that 
my eight-inch disks continue to 
spin in the drive after I have ac- 
cessed the files I need. The wear 
on the disk drive, and shorten- 
ing the life of the floppy disk, 
seems unnecessary. 

Now, eight-inch drive systems 
can be adapted to turn the drives 
off when they are not needed. 
Optronics Technology's Drive 
Control Unit (DCU) is available 
assembled and tested, or in kit 
form. The DCU can be installed 
in existing eight-inch drive 
enclosures with a minimum of 
effort. 



The kit comes with a six-page 
manual that includes two pages 
of drawings and diagrams and a 
photograph showing how the 
unit mounts in the rear of an 
eight-inch Shugart drive. The 
printed circuit board is about 
23/8 by 31/2 inches in size and 
comes predrilled. There are 
about 20 parts to mount on the 
PC board. No one who has had 
any experience at the Heathkit 
level should have any problems 
assembling the board. 

Upon installation in my 
system (with a CCS disk con- 
troller and Shugart 801 drive), 
the Drive Control Unit worked 
fine the first time without fine 
tuning or troubleshooting. The 
lack of drive noise and continual 
disk spinning is a delight! 

One problem that was prob- 
ably not anticipated by the 
designers is in copying from one 
disk to another using a single- 
disk, file-transfer program. If the 
nine seconds expire before you 
change the disks, you'll be left 
staring at the error message 
"Drive A Not Ready." Nothing 
too serious, though; you just 
have to reboot and try again. 

This product serves a needed 
function. The price is reasonable 
and the device works with no 
debugging. The disk-drive motor 
now shuts down nine seconds 
after being disengaged. Disk and 
drive wear has been greatly 
reduced. The unit mounts easily 
in the rear of a Shugart eight- 
inch drive without modification 
to the drive. You must solder 
three wires to the Shugart PC 
board to complete the installa- 
tion. The instruction sheets are 
detailed enough to guide even a 
novice. 

(Optronics Technology, 2990 
Atlantic Ave., Penfield, NY 



MbW i 



HARDWARE 



14526; $39.95 assembled, 
$29.95 kit.) 

David DuPuy 
December 1982 



Floppy Disk Controller Kit 
A.M. Electronics 
Model III 

The popularity of the Model III 
has been accompanied by a 
veritable host of companies sup- 
plying after-market equipment, 
including disk drives and con- 
trollers. These typically offer 
several advantages over the 
Radio Shack-installed drives, in- 
cluding lower price and greater 
flexibility. Most of the available 
controller kits support double- 
sided drives. 

The A.M. Electronics Floppy 
Disk Controller Board kit in- 
cludes the board and all mount- 
ing hardware, cables, and power 
supply, but not the disk drives. I 
chose two Tandon double-sided, 
40-track drives, without case or 
power supply. I also purchased 
DOSPLUS 3.3 from Micro- 
Systems Software. The total cost 
for my disk system was about 
$1,170. 

The installation instructions 
were thorough and easy to fol- 
low. A few nuts and bolts for 
mounting the controller board 
were missing and the description 
of the power supply cable did 
not match the cable I found. I de- 
termined the proper orientation 
by referring to the pin numbers. 
There were no traces to cut and 
no soldering was necessary; I 
was impressed with the way the 
kit fit perfectly into the Radio 
Shack design. The most difficult 
operation was breaking out the 
plastic face plates that cover the 

282 



disk drive openings in the com- 
puter housing. 

The disk drives must be con- 
figured to the system. I called 
A.M. Electronics and was told to 
remove the terminating resistor 
packs from both drives and 
break certain DIP jumper con- 
nections on the drives; which 
connections to break will differ 
with different drives. 

Upon attempting a backup I 
ran into trouble— DOSPLUS 
declared about half the tracks on 
the disk flawed and rejected the 
backup. At this point I learned 
one of the disadvantages of 
assembling your own systemr if 
something goes wrong, it may 
be difficult to determine which 
part is faulty. I ruled out disk 
failure because it rejected the 
same tracks every time, even 
with high-quality disks; I ruled 
out DOSPLUS failure as 
TRSDOS did the same thing. I 
called A.M. again and was told it 
was probably a faulty controller 
board. 

With the new board installed 
the system worked perfectly. It 
was particularly gratifying to be 
able to ask for DIR:OB (back-side 
of drive zero). I now have the 
equivalent of four disk drives 
with a capacity of roughly 720K. 

The A.M. controller kit is com- 
patible with all existing Model III 
DOSes, although TRSDOS will 
not support the double-sided 
capacity. I highly recommend 
the kit, along with double-sided 
drives and DOSPLUS as a 
reliable, easy-to-assemble, large- 
capacity system. There is a 
substantial trade-off— Radio 
Shack will not service, much 
less honor the warranty of, a 
system with after-market equip- 
ment installed; it is easier to find 
a non-Radio Shack repair facility 



DISK DRIVE CONTROLLERS 



than to disassemble the unit and 
remove the disk system before 
going to RS service— but this is 
an acceptable price to pay for the 
increased flexibility and lower 
system cost 
(A.M. Electronics, 3366 
Woshtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 
48104; $390 for the kit; 
$205 -$405 additional with 
drivesj 

John Ratzlaff 
April 1982 

•^ ^ ^ 

LN DouMer 5/8 
LNW Research Corp. 
Model I 

■^ '^ "^ 

Percom Doubler II 
Percom Data Co. 
Model! 

^ -^ -^ -^ 

MULTIDOS 

Cosmopolitan Electronics 

Corp. 

Model I and III 

■^ ^ ^ V2 
NEWDOSSO 2.0 
Apparat Inc. 
Model I and III 

^ ^ ^ ^ 
DOSPLUS 3.4 
Micro-System Software 
Model I and III 

* tI^ * * ¥2 
LBOS5.1 

Logical Systems Inc. 
Model I and III 

1^ ^ * 

TFD 100-1 Percom 
Disk Drives 
Percom Data Co. 
Model I 



W "W W 

PMCSFD-51-A 

Personal Micro Computers 

Inc. 

Model I 

Double-density disk I/O is ac- 
tually more reliable than single- 
density. But, how do you get 
double-density and which disk 
controller and DOS should you 
choose? There are a wide varie- 
ty. I contacted many manufac- 
turers of double-density prod- 
ucts, and those that responded 
are represented here. 

Two double-density disk con- 
trollers, four DOSes, and four 
disk drives are reviewed. 
Although most of this informa- 
tion is applicable to Model I 
users only, the DOSes have 
Model III versions. 

The Disk Controller 

The Western Digital disk con- 
troller that accompanies the 
Radio Shack Expansion Inter- 
face is a single-density disk con- 
troller, but it can write several 
kinds of data address marks. To 
allow compatibility, both the 
Percom and LNW disk con- 
trollers allow your computer to 
use the original disk controller 
as well as the double-density 
disk controller. 

I reviewed the Percom Doubler 
II and the LN Doubler 5/8. The 
Percom Doubler comes with 
easy-to-follow instructions and 
Percom's own DBLDOS (essen- 
tially a TRSDOS patched to run 
double-density with a few cor- 
rected flaws). 

The LN Doubler 5/8 comes 
with better instructions and an 
even easier installation manual. 
The manual includes the 
Western Digital technical 
manual for their disk controllers. 



283 



HARDWARE 



It also supports 8-inch floppy 
drives and comes with 
DOSPLUS. 

I was unable to demonstrate a 
significant difference in any disk- 
controller functions between the 
two and reliability testing 
showed no significant differences 
in granules locked out or in 
read/write errors. 

The DOSes 

The aspects of a DOS that I 
consider important are: ease of 
use; speed of operation; accom- 
panying utilities, such as 
editor/assemblers, file utilities, 
debuggers, monitors, and 
languages; readability and com- 
pleteness of documentation; 
compatibility with other disk for- 
mats; and cost. 

MULTIDOS 

This is the most inexpensive of 
these DOSes and has many 
features its more expensive com- 
petitors don't have. It is the only 
totally compatible DOS around. 
It will read any of the other disk 
formats, including DBLDOS. It is 
also a "no-hang" DOS. 

The only major problem with 
this system is that it only checks 
four times on a read/write. My 
old Pertecs showed many more 
"Data Record Not Found" errors 
with MULTIDOS than the other 
DOSes, which check 10 times 
before returning an error. 

The manual is a terse 66 
pages. It lacks an index, but it 
does cover the features of 
MULTIDOS adequately, provided 
that you already have the 
TRSDOS manual. 

MULTIDOS has many useful 
library commands besides those 
provided in TRSDOS, and has a 
number of system utilities that 
include the following: a disk- 
based version of Radio Shack's 



Editor/Assembler, a RAM Scan- 
ner to locate a 1- or 2-byte word 
in memory, a graphics utility to 
allow direct keyboard entry of 
graphics characters, a printer 
spooler, and best of all, 
MULTIDOS's Versatile File Utili- 
ty (VFU). 

VFU is a utility for frequently 
needed disk operations, in- 
cluding purging files, printing a 
disk directory, multiplying file 
copies, and executing menu- 
based programs. The Purge op- 
tion gives a screen of the 
available files, as do the Copy 
and Execute commands. 

MULTIDOS has the best Basic 
around, SuperBasic. It also has a 
programming and debugging 
Basic called BBasic with Boss 
Basic utility program, built 
into it. 

NEWDOS80 2.0 

NEWDOS80 2.0 is a double- 
density DOS that writes and 
reads a specific disk format dif- 
ferently from the other DOSes. 
The familiar gran for granule 
has been replaced by lumps. 
What's a lump? NEWDOSBO's 
documentation doesn't go out of 
its way to tell you. It is definable 
with the PDRIVE GPL 
parameter, so there are between 
two and eight granules per 
lump. You can define the 
granules-per-lump (GPL) 
parameter as eight. Once you do 
so, the DOS's features are about 
the same as the others. 

This system will read other 
formats, but they must be con- 
figured with the PDRIVE each 
time a different disk is used, par- 
ticularly if the disks are in dif- 
ferent densities. 

It will take you longer to get 
started with NEWDOS80 than 
with the other operating systems 



284 



DISK DRIVE CONTROLLERS 



presented here. This is partially 
due to the manual's technical 
approach, and partially to the 
approach taken by the DOS in 
its performance of the various 
functions. 

NEWDOS80 has a large 
number of library commands, 
that include the following: 
Break; Chain and Do; JKL, 
which sends the current screen 
contents to the printer; HIMEM, 
which sets the top of memory 
from DOS; LC and LCDR; Pause; 
PDRIVE, which assigns the 
default attributes to a physical 
disk drive; Print; R; and Route. 

The operating system also 
sports a miniDOS not found in 
the other DOSes. The miniDOS 
allows the execution of IX)S 
library commands except Ap- 
pend, Chain, Copy, or Format. 
Since it is interrupt-driven, it can 
be used from almost any pro- 
gram that keeps interrupts ac- 
tive and uses the NEWDOS80 
keyboard driver. 

The utilities provided by 
NEWDOS80 include the ever- 
popular Superzap. It also sup- 
plies a patched version of Radio 
Shack's Editor/ Assembler and a 
disassembler. In addition to this, 
NEWDOS80 handles the stan- 
dard sequential and random, as 
well as marked and fixed items. 

NEWDOS80 is a good DOS. 
The Basic is not as good as 
MULTIDOS's, but it operates 
well. It has a disassembler, 
Superzap, and other powerful 
utilities. Apparat supplies zaps 
free to registered owners and has 
provided good customer support 
in the past. Unfortunately, it 
does not have automatic density 
recognition. 

DOSPLUS 3,4 
DOSPLUS comes with the LN 



Doubler 5/8. It has automatic 
density recognition, although it 
cannot read DBLDOS format. It 
has an automatic repeating, 
lowercase keyboard driver and 
DO file capability. The quick for- 
mat command verifies the tracks 
backwards. Model I and III 
double-density versions are 
directly compatible, meaning 
that a Model I DOSPLUS disk 
can be read by a Model III 
DOSPLUS. DOSPLUS does come 
with a Convert command to 
transfer files from a Model III 
disk to a Model I DOSPLUS disk, 
somewhat like NEWDOS80. 

The program's library func- 
tions perform like the other 
DOSes described. The DOSPLUS 
utilities include a printer spooler, 
single-drive copy, Crunch (a pro- 
gram that compresses Basic pro- 
grams saved on disk), Diskdump 
and Diskzap (floppy-disk editors 
similar to Superzap), Map (shows 
file locations on a disk). Restore 
(recovers killed files), Sysgen 
(creates nonstandard system 
disks), Tape (similar to 
NEWDOSSO's LMOffset), and 
Transfer (for multiple file copies 
from one disk to another). 

DOSPLUS enters Basic dif- 
ferently than MULTIDOS and 
NEWDOS80. The Basic is 
enhanced as well and has a large 
number of abbreviations. 

DOSPLUS comes with a tiny 
Basic called TBasic. TBasic oc- 
cupies slightly more space than 
MULTIDOS's SuperBasic, but 
has no file space allocated. 
TBasic lacks many of the 
enhancements found in regular 
DOSPLUS Basic, but is useful 
because it will still run the full 
set of Basic commands. TBasic 
displays abbreviated error 
messages in a further attempt to 
free up memory. 



285 



HARDWARE 



LDOS 5.1 

LDOS recently reduced its 
price from $169 to $129, due to 
the large volume of sales. Regis- 
tered LDOS users receive the 
quarterly magazine. The LDOS 
Quarterly, support hard to 
match. The operating system 
comes with a rather imposing 
300-plus-page, well-written man* 
ual. The LDOS manual is the 
best of the DOSes reviewed here- 

The library commands in 
LDOS are similar to those 
available in the other DOSes. 
Trace supports and displays the 
PC register in the upper right 
hand corner of the display, and 
Filter is similar to the Route 
command on the other DOSes 
but better. It establishes a pro- 
gram to filter the I/O path of 
some device. Several filter pro- 
grams are supplied with the 
LDOS disk. 

One of the most powerful 
features of the LDOS operating 
system is its job control 
language (JCL). The JCL is ac- 
tually a compiled language. It 
can handle conditional 
statements and support 
variables. LDOS allows con- 
catenation of variables and logic 
expressions using NOT, AND, 
and OR. In addition to this, the 
JCL allows macros in its pro- 
grams. This means that you can 
specify a macro name and some 
complex function will be per- 
formed. 

Other utilities include 
CMDFILE (a more powerful ver- 
sion of NEWDOSSO's LMOffset 
that allows appending patches to 
machine code, appending 
machine-code programs 
together, saving them to disk or 
tape, moving them around in 
memory, and so on) and LCOMM 



(a communications program that 
allows your TRS-80 to talk to 
other TRS-80 computers or to 
bulletin board systems, such as 
Forum 80). 

LDOS is a good DOS, but there 
are a few minor inconveniences. 
The Basic could be more power- 
ful, and it would be helpful if the 
top of memory were free. The 
manual is quite good, and the 
Filter and JCL features make 
this the most powerful 
microcomputer DOS around. 
Finally, the LDOS support is un^ 
precedented in quality and ease 
for the registered user. 

In Summary 

As you can see, all these 
DOSes have their good points. 
MULTIDOS has its low price tag. 
versatile file utility, no-hang 
ability, virtually total com- 
patibility, and the excellent 
SuperBasic. The manual is a bit 
terse and MULTIDOS only 
checks a read/write four times. 

NEWDOS80 has good utility 
programs like LMOffset, a 
disassembler, and Superzap. 
The manual, however, lacks a 
tutorial and NEWDOS80 needs 
automatic density recognition. 
DOSPLUS has Diskdump, 
Diskzap and automatic density 
recognition. LDOS has its ex- 
cellent manual, great customer 
support, very flexible filtering of 
I/O, and a powerful JCL. Which 
you choose depends veiy much 
on your applications. 

The Drives 

The Percom is the only one of 
these drives that I reviewed that 
is flippy, meaning that you can 
remove the disk from the drive 
and write to the other side of the 
disk. This effectively doubles the 
amount of storage you have in 



2S6 



DISK DRIVE CONTROLLERS 



your disk library. 

The Percom drive also has the 
drive-cable card extending out 
from the rear of the machine, so 
it is easily acessible without 
removing the case, a nice 
feature. It has a stepping-motor 
speed that allows you to seek 
tracks at 12 milliseconds. This is 
faster than the Teac (at 30 ms) 
and my Pertecs (at 20 ms), but 
slower than the PMC and the 
Trak (both at 5 ms). 

The PMC drive also has the 
drive-cable card extending out 
the rear of the drive. It has a fast- 
stepping motor with 5-ms track 
seeking. It allows writing only to 
one side of the disk. 

The Teac drive was the 
slowest of the bunch, requiring a 
minimum of 30 ms to seek a 
track. In order to change the 
drive cable, you must remove 
the cover. The card for the drive 
is inconveniently spaced, mean- 
ing the drives must be slightly 
closer than recommended by 
Radio Shack when using their 
four-drive cable. 

The Trak drive was another 
fast drive, requiring only 5 ms to 
seek a track. The card for the 
drive cable was even more inac- 
cessible than the Teac drive, and 
to use it with the four-drive 
cable, you must run the drive 
with the cover removed, use the 
last connector on the cable, or 
use a disk-drive extender cable, 
which costs about $10. It comes 
with a single-drive cable aleady 
connected to it, so single-drive 
users won't need to get a cable 
when purchasing this drive. 

A nice feature of this drive is 
that the disks are spring-loaded. 
The disk springs out half an inch 
or so for easy removal when you 
open the drive door. This is also 
ttie only drive with a power-on 



light as well as a drive-busy 
light. 

All the drives worked well and 
deserve a recommendation. 
(Percom Data Co., 11220 
Pagemill Road, Dallas, TX 
75243; Doublet II, $169.95. The 
Percom TFD-100-1 flippy drive 
has been replaced with the 
TFD-42, which sells for $499. 
LNDoubler 5/8, LNW Research 
Corp., 2620 Walnut, Tustin, CA 
92680; $219.95 with DOS, 
$1 99.95 without DOS. 
MULTIDOS, Cosmopolitan Elec- 
tronics Corp., Box 234, 
Plymouth, MI 481 70; $79.95. 
NEWDOS80 2.0, Apparat Inc., 
4401 S. Tamarac Way, Denver, 
CO 80237; $149. DOSPLUS 3.5, 
Micro-System Software, 4301-18 
Oak Circle, Boca Raton, FL 
33431; $149.95. LDOS 5.1, 
Logical Systems Inc., 1 1 520 N. 
Port Washington Road, Mequon, 
WI 53092; $129. PMC-SFD-51A. 
Personal Micro Computers Inc., 
475 Ellis St., ML View, CA 
94043; $355.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
December 1982 



Micro Mainframe Disk 
Controller 
Micro Mainframe 
Model in 

At $279.95, the Micro Main- 
frame Model III floppy-disk con- 
troller is about $115 less than 
many other controllers listed in 
80 Micro. Micro Mainframe is not 
a well-known company, but 
$1 15 is a substantial price dif- 
ference, so I decided to order 
their unit. 

The first difficulty was finding 
a dealer that stocked the kits. 
Micro Mainframe in California 



287 



HARDWARE 



put me in touch with three 
dealers. BT Enterprises of New 
York had them in stock at the 
same price. The unit was 
delivered one week after I placed 
the order. 

My initial uncertainty about 
the MM controller kit proved to 
be unfounded. The circuit board 
is well made, and is obviously 
well designed. You get the con- 
troller board, a switching power 
supply, almost all mounting 
hardware, all cables needed for 
installing two drives, and in- 
structions. Only the four 32 by 
V4 mounting screws for the 
drives are not supplied. I bought 
a Tandon drive from Software 
Sector Marketing; The Model III 
Service Manual contains service 
instructions for it. 

The installation takes about an 
hour and a half. It's a very sim- 
ple job. The instructions, unfor- 
tunately, are supplied on faded 
photocopies, difficult to read. 
There are at least five serious er- 
rors, and the diagrams frequent- 
ly don't match the text. In spite 
of these errors, anyone with 
common sense can complete the 
installation. The drives fit well 
into the cutouts of the Model III, 
and nothing is force-fitted into 
place. 

There is one ambiguity in the 
instructions. This is with con- 
figuring the disk drive itself. The 
diagram in the instructions im- 
plies that the socket on the Tan- 
don drive into which the shunt 
is placed has seven positions. 
Actually, there are spaces for 
eight. 

The system worked im- 
mediately. Data transfer to and 
from the drives seems to work 
well; I haven't encountered any 
disk errors. I've found one com- 
mercial program that refuses to 



load, though it loads on a Tandy 
controller. The program uses 
tricky encoding techniques, 
however, and may not be a fair 
test. All the Radio Shack soft- 
ware I have loads perfectly. 

There is one serious 
drawback. No service manual is 
available for the unit, and no 
schematic diagram. Service is 
available for a $45 repair fee, but 
if you like to fix things yourself, 
you'll have to trace the circuit 
diagram on your own. Hopefully 
the company will change this 
troublesome policy as they gain 
experience. 

(Micro Mainframe, 1 1 325 
Sunrise, Gold Circle, Building E, 
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670: 
currently $1 79.95.) 

Jerry O'Dell 
November 1982 

Percom DouMer II 
(See Page 283) 



—EXPANSION- 
MODIFICATIONS 



■^^ "^ '^ "^r 

Disk-80 
Micromint Inc. 
Model I 

Disk-80, designed by Steve 
Ciarcia, is a disk-controller inter- 
face and memory expansion for 
the Model I. It includes the usual 
complement of expansion fea- 
tures: floppy-disk controller, 32K 
memory expansion, Centronics- 
type parallel printer port, and an 
interrupt-driven real-time clock. 
It is compatible with all TRS-80 
software. 

Disk-80 is not unique; in fact. 



2aA 



EXPANSION MODIFICATIONS 




it is mundane. But uniqueness is 
rarely the criterion for Model I 
system expansion. Rather, 
transparent operation and high 
reliability are essential, and 
these qualities are admirably 
present in Disk-80. 

The disk control system is a 
pleasure to use. Disk-80 incor- 
porates a hardware data separ- 
ator of standard design as stan- 
dard equipment, and it works 
with the precision of the Percom 
add-on for the Radio Shack inter- 
face. Disk read errors were com- 
mon to TRS-SOs until designers 
went back to the drawing board 
and read Western Digital's 
recommendations for their own 
disk controller chip— use an ex- 
ternal data separator. Disk-80 
does this and again uses Schmitt 
triggers for signal reshaping on 
information incoming from disk 
drives. You can add the usual 
four drives with Disk-80. 

The real-time clock also in- 
cludes design upgrades, in- 
cluding CMOS integrated cir- 
cuits to lower power consump- 
tion and noise and increase 
precision. The parallel printer 
port (incorporated in the power- 
supply board) is standard. The 



power supply itself is adequate 
and concisely designed. The en- 
tire expansion unit is packaged 
in a small plastic case less than 
half the size of the Radio Shack 
expansion system. 

Excellent documentation and 
full schematics are provided 
with Disk-80, and the construc- 
tion article {Byte, March 1981) 
describes details of the circuit 
operation and unveils many of 
the mysteries of expansion- 
interface operation. 

Reviewing Disk-80 is almost 
incongruous, because any com- 
ments can be summarized with 
the sentence, "It works." 
(Micromint Inc., 91 7 Midway, 
Woodmere, NY 11598: $275.) 

Dennis Bathory Kitsz 
March 1982 



^ ^ '^ ^ 

The Internal Memory- 
Holmes Engineering 
Model I 

Occasionally a product comes 
along that you could consider 
the greatest since the microcom- 
puter. This time it is the Internal 
Memory (or the IM) from Holmes 
Engineering, an attachment for 
your TRS-80 Model I. 

The IM is a small circuit board 
that contains 16 RAM sockets 
(plus the necessary decoder cir- 
cuits), and is plugged into the 
eight RAM sockets in your 
keyboard. The original eight 
RAMs (they must be 16K) are 
then plugged into the IM. This 
leaves you eight more sockets for 
either 4K or 16K RAMs. 

I did have a minor problem in- 
stalling the board, as capacitors 
C32 and 034 were in the way. I 
merely moved them to the other 
side of the CPU board and, voila. 



289 



HARDWARE 



32K of user RAM (actually 
31956 bytes). Larry Holmes has 
indicated that he is aware of the 
problem with the capacitors, and 
is already planning a slight 
redesign so they will not present 
further installation problems. 

The IM also requires four con- 
nections to the CPU board, of 
which only three are required if 
you are adding 16K. These are 
logic connections, as the IM ac- 
quires its power from the RAM 
sockets. Holmes Engineering has 
come up with some miniature 
clips that are small enough to at- 
tach to the pins of the other ICs 
on the CPU board. Thus, there is 
no need to solder or cut traces, 
and the IM is easily removed 
when service is required. 

The IM is strictly a hardware 
modification and does not re- 
quire software work. Just install 
it and you are ready to go. The 
Level II ROM is capable of ad- 
dressing up to 48K of RAM, plus 
the 16K for the Level II ROM. 
plus peripherals (CRT, keyboard, 
etc.). This is a total of 64K for a 
Z80 system. Holmes Engineer- 
ing provides total support for the 
IM and a one-year guarantee. 
Those of you who have limited 
space and funding: the Internal 
Memory is for you. 
(The revised IM II is sold by 
Holmes Engineering, 3555 
South, 3200 West, Salt Lake 
City, UT 841 1 9; $1 1 9.50 for 
16K, $139.50 for 32K.) 

Eric Keener 
December 1981 

-^ ^ -^ 1/2 

LNW Expansion Board 

LNW Research Corp, 

LNW80 

The LNW Research Expansion 



Board has provisions tor up to 
32K extra memory, floppy-disk 
controller, parallel printer, dual- 
cassette port,, real-time clock, 
RS-232 port, on-board power 
supply, and a bus for expansion. 
All features are optional. The 
manual includes itemized parts 
and lists for each option, en- 
abling you to build only the sec- 
tions you want. 

The manual is well written, 
and it gives details for construc- 
tion, configuring the system, and 
the theory of operation. Data 
sheets for the UART and the 
disk controller (1771) are includ- 
ed with software for using the 80 
as a terminal. Software is also 
provided to drive a serial printer 
through the RS-232 port or 
through the parallel port, with 
certain board modifications. 

The first job is to look for the 
necessary parts. Although the 
manual does mention parts 
substitutions, it doesn't cover 
the UART, a Western Digital 
TR1602B. I have used both am 
AY-5-1013A and an AY-3-1014A 
with fine results. 

The RS-232 port is well pro- 
vided with handshaking, and re- 
quests to send (RTS), clear to 
send (CTS), data terminal ready 
(DTR), data set ready (DSR), car- 
rier detect (CD), and ring in- 
dicator (RI) are all implemented, 
as well as a provision for 
generating a true break signal. 
In addition, the serial data ap- 
pears at 1 bit (IN 0E8H, bit 1), 
and the port can be wired for 
20mA operation if desired. 

Although the TRS-80 can be 
set up as either a data terminal 
(DTE) or data communication 
device (DCE), the handshaking 
lines are fully implemented only 
for DTE. There is no provision 
for the UART to generate inter- 



EXPANSION MODIFICATIONS 



rupts, nor is the interrupt line 
easily available to those who 
have time-critical applications. 

Interrupts are definitely usable 
on the TRS-80, since the vectors 
are stored in RAM. Many of the 
ROM routines depend on the in- 
terrupt vectors, and you may 
have to write your own keyboard 
and screen drivers depending on 
what interrupt mode you use. 

A few words of warning are in 
order. The bus expansion pro- 
vided should be used with due 
caution. It is a simple, unbuf- 
fered extension of the TRS bus, 
and any expansion requires 
more buffering with high im- 
pedance input buffers (not 
7400 ICs). 

Using disks, you can patch 
machine-language programs to 
correct errors, and reassemble 
with ease. Data files are child's 
play, and long programs load in 
seconds. 

The LNW Research board is 
well laid out and inexpensive. 
The documentation is satisfac- 
tory. With disk drives, 48K of 
memory, and Electric Pencil 
with lowercase modification, it 
makes a good machine. 
(LNW Research, 2620 Walnut, 
Tustin, CA 92680: $69.95, hard- 
to-find parts kit $27.50.) 

Ian Hodgson 
May 1981 



LNW System Expansion 

Board 

LNW Research Corp. 

Model I 

LNW's System Expansion 
Board claims to have all the 
features of the Radio Shack ex- 
pansion chassis and then some. 



Also mentioned is software com- 
patibility and "quiet bus" design 
that eliminates some of the 
memory problems. I spent some 
time comparing LNW's circuitry 
with that of Radio Shack. 
Anyone building the LNW board 
should purchase the expansion 
interface hardware from Radio 
Shack. 

The manual has a good parts 
list. Actually, the parts are listed 
in several ways. The system 
allows partial construction for 
those who don't need all the 
features. Parts are sorted 
alphanumerically to make it 
easy to order and inventory. 

The manual suggests buying 
another Radio Shack power 
module similar to the one that 
powers the keyboard. Check at 
your local Radio Shack to see if 
they have a bad one laying 
around. Pry it apart and replace 
the fuse. A schematic is included 
in the construction manual. I 
bought separate transformers 
and mounted them internally 
with a power-line filter. 

First I mounted the board, the 
power transformers, and cut the 
slots for the ribbon connectors. 
Next, I assembled the board per 
the guidelines of the manual. I 
used sockets for all chips. The 
pins on the sockets were tapered 
so that they barely extended 
through the board. This made 
inspection of soldering hard, but 
I managed by going slower than 
I normally would. There was 
nothing else tricky about 
assembling the board. 

Wliile the manual directs you 
to plug in the chips prior to 
preliminary power checks, cer- 
tain jumpers are not installed. 
With these removed, no power is 
applied to the chips. Follow the 
directions exactly. This section 



291 



HARDWARE 



performs voltage checks to find 
errors or bad parts that could 
cause damage. I installed the 
jumpers, turned on the chassis, 
and rechecked the power-supply 
voltages. I then removed power 
and connected to my keyboard. 

There are two 40-pin edge con- 
nectors on the LNW board. 
Either one can be connected to 
the TRS-80. The other is avail- 
able for devices that work direct- 
ly off the expansion port, such as 
a page printer. The bus termina- 
tion resistors are installed near 
one of these connectors; I in- 
stalled them and have experi- 
enced no problems. 

The real-time clock is only of 
limited use without a disk op- 
erating system. It has proven 
useful in disk operation for tim- 
ing program events in Basic 
programs. 

Cassette operation is slow, but 
dual cassettes open up a new 
world for data handling if you 
are interested in editing data 
files. The LNW board has the 
decoder and relay driver. All that 
is required in addition is an ex- 
ternal relay. 

The serial port uses a common 
chip called a UART (universal 
asynchronous receiver/transmit- 
ter). This chip is almost a magic 
device. You inject parallel data, 
and out comes serial data, or in- 
put serial data and out comes 
parallel data. The chip can do 
both jobs simultaneously even 
with unrelated data of different 
baud rates. I like this serial port 
so well that I wish the LNW 
board had two of them. It would 
be nice since it is possible that 
one might want one port for a 
line printer and one for a 
modem. 

The line printer port, like 
every other LNW feature, works 



like Radio Shack's and is de- 
signed to work with a parallel 
printer, using the Centronics in- 
terface. For those using a serial 
printer, the serial interface can 
drive it. With no modifications to 
the printer or the LNW board, 
you can set up the serial inter- 
face for the right baud rate and 
punch in a software routine that 
will link the LLISTs and 
LPRINTs to the serial interface. 
The driver software program is 
included in the manual. 

A better way is to follow the 
instructions of Chapter 6, which 
route signals that would normal- 
ly go out the normal parallel 
printer port through the serial 
port. A still better approach 
would be to build a separate 
parallel to serial converter, 
which would plug into the 
printer port and convert to the 
type of serial level required by 
the printer. 

The TRS-80 generates a lot of 
energy in the radio-frequency 
spectrum. It seems to be the 
worst in the 40-meter region. It 
seems that every accessory add- 
ed causes the noise level to come 
up. I have done nothing to cor- 
rect the radiation caused by the 
TRS-80, but I do not observe any 
increase in noise when the ex- 
pansion interface is connected or 
disconnected. 

The LNW board performs. It is 
totally hardware and software 
compatible with Radio Shack 
products designed for the 
TRS-80. While the manual is 
good, the project is such that I 
recommend it only for the ad- 
vanced kit builder. 
(System Expansion is sold by 
LNW Research, 2620 Walnut 
Tustin, CA 92680; $69.95.) 

Bob Couger 
February 1981 



292 



EXPANSION MODIFICATIONS 



•^ "^ "^ "^ 

LX-80 Expansion Interface 
SA800 Eight-Inch Disk Drive 
Lobo Drives International 
Model I 

Though Lobo Drives' LDOS 
may already be a familiar name 
to disk operators, the equipment 
for which it was designed— the 
LX-80 expansion interface and 
the SA800 dual eight-inch disk 
drive — remain unexplored. 

Why bother with a more ex- 
pensive alternative to the Radio 
Shack expansion interface and 
drives? First, an unmodified 
Radio Shack interface won't ac- 
commodate eight-inch drives, 
whereas the Lobo will. Also, 
since production of the Model I 
has ended, it's anyone's guess as 
to how long the attendant inter- 
face equipment will remain 
available. Despite this threat the 
Model I is thriving; manufac- 
turers of ancillary gear are not 
merely continuing to support the 
hardware, but in some cases are 
offering superior alternatives. 

I've been operating the Lobo 
equipment on my system for 
over two months without a 
single glitch. This reliability, 
reflected in the stiffer price, 
has also been built into the 
equipment; instead of a plastic 
case, both interface and drive 
units are enclosed in one-eighth- 
inch thick steel. Not that many 
users are likely to try, but you 
could quite literally drive a car 
over the interface without 
damaging it. 

The unit measures just under 
three inches high (lower than the 
RS expansion interface) by 19 
inches wide by 12 inches deep. 
The LX-80 comes with a user 
manual that not only describes 
set-up procedures but offers sim- 



ple step-by-step diagrams. An 
owner who dives in without 
reading can plug in either the 
five- or eight-inch drive connec- 
tor cables the wrong way 
(neither the multi-pin plug nor 
the socket have a keying notch). 

The manual also tells you how 
to change the LX-80's param- 
eters to fit your needs, from us- 
ing either 1 17V ac power at 60 
Hz or 235V ac at 50 Hz to open- 
ing the box and installing up to 
32K of your own RAM. The only 
criticism I have of the manual is 
that there is no circuit 
schematic. I don't care how 
secret Lobo's design is; if some- 
one wants this sort of quality 
and is willing to pay this sort of 
price, he should have the option 
to maintain his own equipment. 
This is obviously impossible 
without the circuit diagram. 

If you want to use four five- 
inch or four eight-inch drives, 
double or single density, single- 
or double-sided, or any of the 
above in any combination, the 
LX-80 will support it. Not only 
that, but it's possible to con- 
figure the interface to boot up 
from either five- or eight-inch 
drives, or from Lobo's 1850T 
dual fixed/floppy hard disk. The 
point is merely to tell the inter- 
face which is drive zero, and this 
is done by setting small DIP 
switches at the rear of the unit. 

I need to add one small caveat 
to this glorious mixing of drives. 
The LX-80 doesn't map its disk 
input/output in the same way as 
the Radio Shack expansion in- 
terface, addressing the drives via 
I/O ports instead of memory- 
mapping them. The result is that 
the few pieces of TRS-80 soft- 
ware that don't perform disk I/O 
through the disk operating 
system, such as Super Utility 



293 



HARDWARE 



and certain adventure games, 
will not work. 

This is the reason I.X)bo needed 
to have a DOS developed 
especially for their hardware. All 
Basic programs and machine- 
code programs will work fine, as 
they access disk files via the 
operating system, in this case, 
LDOS. 

An interesting feature of the 
Lobo setup is the ability to over- 
ride the keyboard ROM. A 
switch at the rear of the unit 
replaces the Level II Basic ROM 
with an alternate set that can be 
plugged into three sockets in- 
side. Numerous sorts of ROM 
can be added by reconfiguring a 
set of jumper wires near the 
alternate sockets. This should 
allow the whole TRS-80 to 
operate with any dedicated ap- 
plication in mind. Possibilities 
include a Pascal or Pilot that can 
be available on power-up, or any 
number of industrial or 
mechanical applications. 

The LX-80's real-time clock 
and expansion port work in the 
same manner as the Radio 
Shack interface parts and a 
Centronics-type parallel printer 
port is memory-mapped to the 
same address, so printing is 
unaffected. Two serial output 
ports will drive a serial printer; 
they can be configured by the 
user for custom I/O. Baud rates 
can be set from software, and 
range from 12.5 baud to 316.8 
kilobaud. That should cover just 
about every possible serial 
device imaginable. 

Access couldn't be simpler to 
the 10.5- by 14-inch printed cir- 
cuit board for adding RAM or 
changing jumpers. The board is 
rigid thick glass fiber held down 
by five screws which should 
eliminate any flexing problems. 



Though the LX-80 steals the 
show, the dual SA800 eight-inch 
single-sided disk drive offers 
over one megabyte of storage in 
double density. The units are 
tried and trusted Shugart SA800 
soft sector drives which boast a 
head life of 15,000 hours and a 
disk life of a phenomenal 3.5 
million passes per track. The 
17.5- by 22 by 4.5-inch cabinet 
uses the same hefty construction 
techniques as the interface; Lobo 
installed a cooling fan at the 
back, since eight-inch drive 
motors are constantly nmning, 
whether or not the drive is 
selected. Unfortunately, for my 
taste, the fan was noisy to the 
point of distraction. 

The drives themselves func- 
tion so perfectly it's almost bor- 
ing. I haven't noticed a soft error 
in two months. 

Though the Lobo expansion 
interface offers much greater 
versatility than others currently 
available, their drives just 
outperform, or are equal to, 
others now on the market. 
However, both units are of the 
highest quality and seem to be 
aimed at the professional 
microcomputer user- 
Okay, Lobo International, 
when are you going to come out 
with a TRS-80 compatible 
keyboard unit? 

(Lobo Drives International, 354 
South Fairview, Goleta, CA 
931 1 7; LX-80 interface $460, 
complete with smallDOS $510. 
LDOS is an additional $129. 
The RS-232 option is an addi- 
tional $100. The SA-800 drives 
are now available for the Model 
I and III and cost $1 225. The 
SA-850 drives cost $1 725.) 

Jake Commander 
July 1981 



294 



EXPANSION MODIFICATIONS 



^ -k ^ ¥2 

MDX-2 PC Board & User 

Manual 

Micro-Design 

The MDX-2 Complete Kit 

of Parts 

Compmtex 

Model I 

If a direct-connect mode, 4K 
EPROM, serial port, plus all the 
features of the Radio Shack Ex- 
pansion Interface sound in- 
teresting, consider the Micro- 
Design alternative. 

The interface is available 
either as a kit or assembled. The 
kit is not intended for novice 
assemblers; knowledge about 
electrical components and their 
markings is needed as well as 
experience in soldering tech- 
niques. You can purchase only 
the PC board and manual from 
Micro-Design and individually 
buy the parts, or buy the parts 
in module form from Computex 
and build only particular 
features. 

The interface is completely 
software compatible with the 
Radio Shack interface. The add- 
ed features are not available on 
any other expansion board cur- 
rently on the market, though the 
advertising is a little misleading. 
The RS-232 port must be used 
for modem operation and is 
unavailable for other use. The 
dual cassette port is nothing 
more than an output telling 
when the cassette drive has been 
accessed. Additional external cir- 
cuitry is required for proper 
operation. Finally, the direct- 
connect modem needs an off- 
board coupling transformer and 
switch to function properly. 

The kit goes together fairly 
well. There are a few minor er* 
rors in the instructions and 



schematic, nothing that a little 
common sense wouldn't fix. 
There does not seem to be any 
rhyme or reason to the compo- 
nent labels silk-screened on the 
board; Rl might be found on one 
side of the board next to R53. 
With a little searching all com- 
ponents can be found. 

The edge connectors, like 
those on the Radio Shack inter- 
face, are not gold-plated. Only 
time will tell if this deficiency 
will cause a reliability problem. 

Two resistor packs are re- 
quired in the board layout, 
neither provided in the Com- 
putex kit. Instead, instructions 
for building your own are given; 
no headers are supplied to 
facilitate the task. Another in- 
convenience is the lack of Radio 
Shack power packs; a trans- 
former assembly of the power 
cord, external diodes, and wiring 
has to be constructed. 

The printed circuit board 
layout is well designed, incor- 
porating several features to 
make the kit nicer to build and 
use. The use of DIP switches for 
programming baud rates is a 
plus, as is the inclusion of the 
originate/answer switch on 
board, along with a DB25 con- 
nector. 

To fit the modem on board, 
components have to be stood on 
end, making assembly awkward. 
There is not enough room for the 
coupling transformer, either. It 
would be nice if the on-board 
power regulators could provide 
enough power for at least one 
disk drive. Perhaps the next 
generation board will include a 
double-density disk controller 
and 1,200-baud modem capacity 
with auto answer and dial. Even 
without these features, the 
MDX-2 is impressive. 



295 



HARDWARE 



The manual is severely defi- 
cient if the board does not work 
the first time. A 24-hour hotline 
takes messages for technical 
questions; technical assistance 
was available after 5 p.m. Texas 
time. They were helpful when I 
called. 

The line printer, modem, and 
memory all function flawlessly. 
Your printer must have an auto 
line feed on receipt of a carriage 
return to work properly; this has 
nothing to do with the interface, 
but is a result of the Radio Shack 
software. A better data separator 
circuit should have been includ- 
ed; the disk controller has a 
tendency for read and parity er- 
rors on the inner tracks. 

The Micro-Design expansion 
interface alternative is well 
worth the money. But be 
prepared to spend some time 
building and troubleshooting the 
board. 

(Micro-Design, 6301 Manchaca 
Road, Manchaca, TX 78652. 
The MDX-2 board sells for 
$74.95, completely assembled 
for $469.95. Computex, 1 7321 
El Camino Real, Houston, TX 
77058; complete kit $269) 

Ronald Cangro 
April 1982 



* * * ¥2 

MDX-3 Interface PC Board 

Micro-Design 

Model III 

Many companies offer whole 
or partial kits to upgrade your 
Model III for floppy disks. These 
kits usually include one disk 
drive, an additional 32K of RAM, 
a floppy-disk controller interface, 
and a power supply for the flop- 
py disk. Micro-Design's MDX-3 



interface board not only has 
these standard items incor- 
porated, but an RS-232 and a 
modem as well. 

The MDX-3 is a bare printed 
circuit board that you populate 
with the required components. 
When fully constructed, the 
board's options include the 
RS-232, floppy-disk controller, 
and a 3(X)-baud answer or 
originate modem. 

The MDX-3 fits inside the 
Model Ill's case in the same 
place that is normally occupied 
by the RS-232 and Radio 
Shack's floppy-disk controller 
care. All mounting hardware for 
the installation is included with 
the board. The modem requires 
the RS-232 for operation and 
cannot be constructed as a 
stand-alone section. However, 
the floppy-disk controller or 
RS-232 can. 

If you can solder neatly and 
follow instnictions carefully, 
you'll have little trouble con- 
structing and installing the 
MDX-3 interface board. Should 
you encounter problems, Micro- 
Design seems more than willing 
to help. They have technicians 
available for this purpose after 
business hours and also have 
service centers should the prob- 
lem be unresolved. 

The cost of constructing the 
interface and buying the disk 
drives yourself is very low. Com- 
bine this with the fact that the 
interface also contains an 
RS-232 and a modem and you 
have an extremely low-cost 
system. It is this, plus the 



6— — "^VV"' 




296 



EXPANSION MODIFICATIONS 



support of Micro-Design, that 

makes the MDX-3 a worthwhile 

investment. 

(Micro-Design, 6301 Manchaca 

Road, Austin, TX 78652; 

$74.95.) 

Mel Patrick 
October 1982 



'^ "^ "^ 

The Memory Bos 
Displayed Video 
Model I 

The Memory Box consists of a 
small plastic box with a TRS-80 
standard 40-pin edge connector 
emerging from a slot in one side, 
and a plug-in 5V power supply- 
permanently attached by a five- 
foot cord. The power supply has 
a switch that permits operation 
on either 1 lOV or 220V circuits. 

Displayed Video provides a 
short cable that has a 40-pin 
edge plug attached to each end. 
In normal use one end of the 
plug is connected to the edge 
connector on the Memory Box, 
while the other is connected to 
the expansion edge connector 
on the rear of the TRS-80 key- 
board unit. 

The box provides IK of addi- 
tional RAM in memory locations 
3000H-33FFH (12288 deci- 
mal- 133 11 decimal). Because 
the TRS-80 (and most programs) 
do not expect any memory to be 
present at these locations, 
anything stored in this area is 
not likely to be overwritten or 
changed. The Memory Box re- 
tains the contents of its memory 
even if the power to the TRS-80 
keyboard unit is switched off. 

The Memory Box can also be 
used to store variables for use by 
more than one Basic program, as 



in a case where one program 
chains to another. Basic PEEK, 
POKE, or machine-language 
USR functions can be used to 
move the values of certain 
variables to or from the Mem- 
ory Box. 

I do not use the cable supplied 
with the Memory Box. I pur- 
chased a 40-pin plug from Radio 
Shack (catalog number 
276-1558), and using a bench 
vise, I pressed it onto the TC-8 
cable about three inches from 
one end. The result was two 
plugs near one end of the cable, 
and one plug at the other end. 
Now I can plug the end with one 
plug into the back of the TRS-80 
keyboard unit, and the plugs on 
the other end connect to the 
TC-8 and to the Memory Box. 

Once connected, my Memory 
Box has never failed to work 
reliably, even with a high-speed 
modification (200 percent of nor- 
mal speed) on my TRS-80. 

Improvements 

Occasionally a machine-lan- 
guage program goes bonkers 
and writes random bytes into 
various places in memory. For 
this reason, the memory Box 
should have a write-protect 
switch— flip it on and the 
memory inside the Memory Box 
would suddenly look like ROM to 
the CPU. 

Any writes to addresses con- 
tained within the Memory Box 
would be ignored, so that a loss 
of power would be about the on- 
ly thing that could destroy the 
memory contents. With the 
switch in the opposite position, 
normal operation (read or write 
allowed) is resumed. 

Displayed Video warns against 
operating the CPU with the 
power disconnected from the 



297 



HARDWARE 



Memory Box, as this causes ab- 
normal bus loading and reduces 
the reliability of the TRS-80 
system. Therefore, disconnect 
the Memory Box from the com- 
puter if you have to pull its plug. 

The Memory Box uses the 
same area of memory as the 
PROM operating system of the 
Exatron Stringy-Floppy. Stringy- 
Floppy users would not be able 
to use the Memory Box while the 
Stringy-Floppy is connected. I do 
not know of any other major 
add-on devices for the TRS-80 
that use this area of memory, so 
unless you own a Stringy- 
Floppy, you should find the 
Memory Box a useful addition to 
your Model I TRS-80. 
(Displayed Video, III Marshall 
St, Litchfield, MI 49252. The 
Memory Box is no longer 
available.) 

Jack Decker 
May 1982 



■^ ^ -^ 

MM+ (Memory ExpansionJ 

Exatron 

Model I 

If you do a lot of programming 
on a 16K Model I you rapidly 
learn what an OM error means; 
programs always seem to grow 
and fill or exceed available 
memory. Most of you turn from 
a cassette-based system to disks 
or a Stringy Floppy. In either 
case, more memory and/or a 
floppy controller is needed. 
Exatron's MM + (Memory + Inter- 
face) is a quality alternative to 
the Radio Shack expansion box 
and could cost you less depend- 
ing on your situation. 

The unit is designed to fit 
under the TRS-80 monitor and 
comes fully assembled. Standard 



features are: 32K of memory, 
built-in power supply, RS-232C 
serial printer port, real-time 
clock, light pen port, parallel 
printer port (Radio Shack/Cen- 
tronics compatible), and a 
general parallel port (IBM Model 
50 compatible). A floppy inter- 
face was not included since the 
unit was designed for TRS-80 
owners who need more memory 
but do not own a floppy disk; a 
floppy controller and an addi- 
tional 32K will be the first op- 
tions available on a second cir- 
cuit board which will fit in the 
present chassis. 

The light pen port is a unique 
feature of the MM + . Most light 
pens can be used with a cassette 
recorder serving as an amplifier, 
but the MM -f- port is more con- 
venient and leaves the recorder 
free. The port was designed for 
MicroMatrix's Photopoint, but 
should work with any light pen 
that is designed to connect to a 
recorder. 

Exatron offers a speed-up kit 
for the TRS-80 that lets you run 
the computer at a 50 percent or 
100 percent increase in speed. 
The MM + is guaranteed to han- 
dle the 100-percent increase if 
your CPU board and memory 
will run at the 3.55 MHz fre- 
quency. 

If you have no immediate need 
for a floppy interface and want 
more memory, this unit deserves 
your consideration. I have used 
mine for several months with no 
problem, even after overnight 
memory tests. It works well with 
disk alternatives such as the 
Beta-80 and the Stringy Floppy, 
It should satisfy your memory 
requirements for the time and 
give you many additional useful 
features. 
(Exatron, 181 Commercial St.. 



298 



EXPANSION MODIFICATIONS 



Sunnyvale, CA 94086. MM+ is 
no longer available.) 

Harley Dyk 
July 1981 



■^ "^ ■^ "^ 

MT-32 Printer/Interface 

Module 

Microtek Inc, 

Model I 

Until Microtek introduced their 
MT-32 Printer/Memory Module, 
there was no way of adding just 
additional memory and a par- 
allel printer interface to your 
system short of building one 
yourself. The MT-32 provides 
both of these features for less 
than $125 in its most basic 
form. Like Radio Shack's inter- 
face, it sits under the video 
monitor so it takes up no addi- 
tional desk space. 

The documentation and in- 
structions are clear. Memory in- 
stallation couldn't have been 
made any easier. All that is re- 
quired is to remove two screws 
on the back of the module, slide 
the cover off, insert the chips, 
slide the cover back on, and 
replace the screws. 

The only disadvantage that I 
could find was that the MT-32 
has no extension of the CPU's 
bus for connection to other 
peripherals. Fortunately, this 
problem is easily solved by the 
installation of any of the com- 
mercially available "2 for 1" bus 
splitting cables between the 
MT-32 and the keyboard/ 
CPU unit. 

One of the major advantages 
of this interface is that since it 
has no disk controller, pressing 
the reset button to stop the 
cassette recorder or the printer 
will not result in a hangup or 



return to the memory-size 
prompt, but will return to the 
ready prompt as it would 
without the interface. Another 
great advantage is that the inter- 
feice draws its power from the 
keyboard's power supply, so that 
another cord needn't be added to 
the already impossible tangle of 
cords behind the computer. 

The MT-32 is a great, low-cost 
alternative to the $3CX) plus price 
of the Radio Shack Expansion 
Interface. I have experienced no 
problems with it in the three 
months that I have been using 
it. Even if you don't want a 
printer but need the extra 
memory, the MT-32 is the 
lowest-cost product for memory 
expansion. 

(MT-32 Printer/Interface Module, 
sold by Microtek Inc., 9514 
Chesapeake, San Diego, CA 
92123 is no longer being 
produced.) 

Fritz Milhaupt 
June 1981 



■^ ^ ^ V2 

RS-232C Board 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

The RS-232C board from 
Radio Shack gives the user a 
standard way of connecting a 
variety of peripheral devices, in- 
cluding a serial printer. The 
board installs under the large ac- 
cess cover in your existing ex- 
pansion interface and comes 
with a ribbon cable, instruction 
manual, and machine-language 
program that allows your 
TRS-80 to emulate a standard 
asynchronous terminal (provid- 
ed a modem, acoustical coupler, 
or direct connect is available). 
The board plugs into a 42-pin 



HARDWARE 



connector that is part of the ex- 
pansion interface. 

The early version of the in- 
struction manual has a number 
of errors (although the quality of 
the rest of the feature is ex- 
cellent). For example, the DIP 
switches are labeled on the 
board S1-S8), but the user isn't 
told in which direction to push a 
DIP switch to open or close the 
circuit. 

To open, push each switch in 
the direction of the UART (large 
IC chip). Most of the remaining 
errors are minor and all remain- 
ing implementation instructions 
are clear. 

(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102: $99.) 

Roger L. Hicks 
March 1980 



■^ ^ -^ V2 

TRS-80 Serial I/O Board 
Electronic Systems 
Model I 

As an alternative to an expan- 
sion interface and an RS-232 
board, I purchased the TRS-80 
Serial I/O board without parts. 
You can buy a complete kit 
(without power supply or case) 
or the assembled unit (no power 
supply or case). Cables and con- 
nectors to the TRS-80 expansion 
bus and the modem of your 
choice are extra. Even with the 
extras the cost is only about 
$150, and the darn thing works! 

There are some sacrifices you 
will be making for the sake of 
saving some money. The 
TRS-80 Serial I/O will not work 
with any Radio Shack terminal 
software. The TRS-80 I/O board 
uses port 37H for input and ad- 
dress 37F8H for output. 



Although the assembly in- 
structions are brief, anyone with 
some knowledge of soldering can 
assemble it in an evening. Once I 
set my unit up, I never had to go 
back and readjust anything. 

The TRS-80 I/O board comes 
with a machine-language line- 
printer routine, terminal pro- 
gram and a routine to send Basic 
programs to another computer. 
The latter program didn't work, 
but I figure two out of three isn't 
bad. I assembled the terminal 
program using Radio Shack's 
Editor/ Assembler and made my 
first call to another computer 
within minutes without a hitcht 

The Electronic Systems 
TRS-80 Serial I/O board is great 
for those who have time to 
tinker and are also short on 
cash. I have not yet touched on 
the product's usefulness as a 
serial printer interfacing device, 
which may be your reason for 
purchasing it. But I hope you 
find it as useful and educational 
as I have. 

(The TRS-80 Serial I/O Board is 
sold by Electronic Systems, San 
Jose, CA. They could not be 
reached for an update.) 

Jim Cambron 
February 1981 



* * * 

Wolfbug 64K Color Computer 

Upgrade 

Atomic City Electronics 

Color Computer 

Upgrading your 4K, 16K, or 
32K Color Computer to 64K is 
relatively easy when using 
Atomic City Electronics' 64K 
upgrade. The upgrade consists 



300 



MODEMS 



of two major components: a 
monitor called Wolfbug, which 
has 12 single-key commands, 
and a 64K RAM adapter card 
that reconfigures the old RAM 
socket to accept the new 4164 
RAM. The uniqueness of this 
upgrade is its simplicity. Traces 
don't have to be cut; just solder 
in a couple of wires for power, 
address lines, and some 
jumpers, and you have 64K of 
usable RAM. 

The instructions, which are 
very thorough, consists of two 
parts. One is for the EPROM 
adapter card, which holds 
Wolfbug in a 2716 EPROM, and 
the other is for the 64K RAM 
adapter card. 

Wolfbug is a machine- 
language monitor that resides at 
$F800 to $FFEA. It features 12 
single-key commands that in* 
elude the following: an ASCII 
dump of any memory location, a 
go-to-a-machine-language pro- 
gram command, a floppy disk 
boot, a command to route the 
output to the display, a hex 
dump of memory, a command to 
transfer Basic to RAM in the 64K 
mode and run it, permits typing 
text to the screen, and a com- 
mand that switches you to 
MAP-1 mode. 

Wolfbug is an excellent 
upgrade from its installation to 
fine documentation. You should 
have no problems with it at all. 

(Atomic City Electronics, 3195 
Arizona Ave., Los Alamos, JVM 
87544; Wolfbug with adapter 
card $55, 64K RAM card 
without memory $44.95, 64K 
RAM card with memory 
$144.95.) 

David L. Wasler 
December 1982 



■MODEMS- 



■^ "^ -^ -^ 

Hayes Stack Smartmodem 
Hayes Microcomputer 
Products Inc. 



"^ -^ "^ "^ 

Automated Communications 

Exchange 

Ace Computer Products 

Model I or III 

Wliat makes the Smartmodem 
think it's so smart? It's the 
special Z80 processor, program- 
mable in any language by ASCII 
character strings. The command 
buffer holds 40 characters that 
specify the modem's program. 

Eight DIP switches define the 
default parameters for the 
modem upon turning it on, but 
can be overridden by the 
modem's programming. These 
capabilities open up some conve- 
nient options, of which Ace 
Computer Products of Florida 
took full advantage in their 
Automated Communication Ex- 
change (ACE) software package. 

The Smartmodem has a two- 
year limited warranty. It is a 
direct-connect modem, which 
means that it is "cleaner" than 
other acoustical modems that re- 
quire transmission through a 
microphone, and it is fully ap- 
proved by the FCC. It requires 
an RS-232C cable and interfac- 
ing software and has an ad- 
justable rate of 0-300 baud. The 
Ace software requires 48K and 
one disk drive. 

The Smartmodem documenta- 
tion is well-written and includes 
helpful diagrams. Setting up the 
modem should be a breeze for 



301 



HARDWARE 



even the greenest electronic 
communicator. Simply plug the 
modular phone cord into the 
back of the modem, connect the 
RS-232C cable to the modem, 
and you're in business. 

Your telephone or other Hayes 
Stack hardware fits comfortably 
on top of the Smartmodem, 
merging compactness with at- 
tractiveness. The front of the 
Smartmodem sports seven LED 
indicators to show the state of 
the modem at any time. These 
include modem ready, send 
data, carrier detected, off hook, 
and others. 

The feature that adds the most 
flexibility to the system is its 
programmability. With the right 
software you can program the 
modem to dial or answer and 
send or receive ASCII files at 
some future time, even when 
you won't be there! One sin of 
omission is the inability to con- 
nect your phone to the modem 
in series. 

The Smartmodem is a great 
device, and we have had no 




problems with it. It is simple to 
program (much easier even than 
Basic), easy to use, and comes 
with good documentation. We 
highly recommend it for reliable 
and simple, yet sophisticated 
data communication. 

The Automated Communica- 
tions Exchange (ACE) was 
designed exclusively for the 
Hayes Stack Smartmodem. ACE 
is a collection of interconnected 
programs designed to give you 
communication ease and power 
when used with the Smart- 
modem. 

ACE allows some un- 
precedented clout for com- 
munication across the phone 
lines. It can look up a phone 
number, dial it, log on to the 
system, upload ASCII files, 
download ASCII files, log off, 
wait until another day and time 
and call another system, 
download a few files, and so 
on— all from a completely unat- 
tended TRS-80! 

The author, Mike Moore, 
thoughtfully included JCL (also 
known as DO) files, for those 
DOSes that support it, to let you 
easily boot up ACE. 

The documentation for ACE 
contains all the information 
needed and is reasonably well- 
written. Once you have played 
with the program and under- 
stand its operation, ACE is a joy 
to work with. It is simple to 
operate and control flows 
smoothly among programs 
when necessary with a 
minimum of user interference. 

The ACE software is excellent 
overall and takes full advantage 
of the Hayes Stack Smart- 
modem's unique characteristics. 
The Smartmodem and Automat- 
ed Communications Exchange 
software together make an ex- 



^^^^^S^ imB 



MODEMS 



cellent communications system, 
(Hayes Stack Smartmodem ts 
available from Hayes Microcom- 
puter Products Inc., 5835 
Peachtree Corners East, Nor- 
cross, GA 30092; $279. 
Automated Communications 
Exchange is from Ace Computer 
Products, 1640 N.W. 3rd St, 
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441; $79 
alone, $39 with purchase of 
Smartmodem.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass and 

Doris Christine Minnerath 

October 1982 



■^ ^ ^ */2 

The MicroConnecticsii 
The MicroPeripheral Corp. 
Model I and III 

Dial-up systems for the com- 
puter hobbyist are relatively 
new. Such a system used to re- 
quire an expansion interface, the 
optional RS-232 board, and then 
an expensive acoustically-cou- 
pled modem. This adds up to at 
least $650 just to get on line. 

The MicroConnection is an 
FCC-accepted modem that con- 
nects directly to the phone line 
and does not require an expan- 
sion interface or any sort of 
RS-232 interface. For that mat- 
ter, it has its own RS-232 port 
for driving a serial printer or 
operating as a stand-alone 
modem between a serial ter- 
minal and the phone lines. 

The modem operates at 300 
baud, but can be converted to 
run at 110 baud through a sim- 
ple hardware modification 
described in the owner's 
manual. The word protocol is 
under software control; thus, 
you set the MicroConnection to 
operate with even, odd, or no 



parity, a 5-, 6-, 7-, or 8-bit word, 
and 1-, 1.5-, or 2-stop bits. (The 
total of the parity bits plus the 
word bits can only equal eight, 
as I found when I tried to 
transmit an 8-bit word with even 
parity.) The unit also provides 
an input and output to be used 
with your amateur radio equip- 
ment for ASCII Bell 103 stan- 
dard teletype. 

A dumb terminal program, 
supplied on cassette, provides 
redefined keys to transmit 
escape, left and right brace and 
bracket, back slash and 
apostrophe, wave, and vertical 
broken symbols; the up-arrow 
works as a control key so you 
can transmit any other control 
code. The manual provides ad- 
dresses if you wish to redefine 
the special characters. 

The program also provides for 
printing the screen on a parallel 
printer. The command mode is 
accessed using a shift up-arrow 
(P turns on the printer, S turns it 
off, E returns you to Memory 
Size?, and I returns you to the 
initialization routine for setting 
half or full duplex). 

The MicroConnection provides 
an easy and efficient method of 
checking into the various 
bulletin boards (Forum-80, 
CBBS, and so on) as well as 
CompuServe and The Source. 
The MicroPeripheral Corporation 
has a whole line of smart ter- 
minal programs as well as 
MicroConnections for other 
models. It is well worth the in- 
vestment to get into this excit- 
ing and interesting facet of 
computing. 

(The MicroPeripheral Corp., 
2643 151 Place N.E., Redmond, 
WA 98052; The MicroConnec- 
tion is available in two models. 
The Model TI sells for $209 and 



HARDWARE 



the Model TI-A sells for $259.) 

Eric Keener 
July 1981 

'^ ^ -^ -^ 
Modem I 

Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I and III 

The Modem I, Radio Shack's 
first direct-connect modem, has 
some great advantages over its 
competition. Most important to 
small computer owners, the 
Modem I can work from the 
cassette port without an RS- 
232C. You don't need an expan- 
sion interface and, since the 
computer acts as a dumb ter- 
minal, there are no minimum 
memory requirements. If you 
have the E.I. and RS-232C you 
can go that route too. 

The modem uses a modular 
phone jack to connect to the 
phone lines and features both 
answer and originate modes. My 
modem has worked 100 percent 
of the time. If you have a party 
line or multi-line phones, you 
may, however, experience some 
interference in the form of 
misprinted screen text. 

A warning seems appropriate 
here. Be sure that the Modem I is 
compatible with the system you 
wish to hook up to; RS-232C 
compatibility does not guarantee 
modem compatibility. 

If you have an RS-232C then 
you have all the cables and soft- 
ware you need. If you have a 
cassette system, you must buy a 
cable to connect your keyboard 
to your modem. 

I have one minor complaint. 
The original advertisements 
stated that the Modem I would 
handle a baud rate of 600. Ac- 
tually, the Modem I has a baud 
capability of 0-300. 



(The Direct-Connect Modem I is 
available from Tandy/Radio 
Shack, Fort Worth, TX 76102, 
for $149.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
January 1982 

-^ ^ ^ ^ 

Modem 80 

ICROM Enterprises Ltd, 

Model I and III 

The increasing number of 
computer communication net' 
works such as CompuServe, The 
Source, MicroNet and the stan- 
dard CBBS (Computer Bulletin 
Board Service) have made 
modems and terminal programs 
popular with computerists. After 
looking at the software support 
that several setups had to offer, I 
chose the Modem 80. 

The Modem 80, direct-connect 
modem, is a complete unit and 
includes all cables, instruction 
manuals, and, most important, a 
tape containing six programs for 
software support. 

The modem attaches to either 
the expansion interface or to the 
back of the Model I keyboard's 
extension bus. The unit is also 
compatible with the Model III 
(Model I uses a 40-pin bus. Model 
III a 50-pin bus). 

The unit measures 8 by SVa by 
P/2 inches. On one end are two 
modular phone jacks for con- 
necting to the phone line and the 
telephone, although the latter is 
not required for operation. The 
opposite end houses a ribbon 
cable and an edge-card connec- 
tor. A special Y power cable ex- 
tends from this end as well. One 
end of this cable connects to the 
power socket on the computer, 
the other connects to the jack on 
the other end of the power pack. 
Two LEDs on the top of the unit 



0^1^^ 



MUSIC AND VOICE SYNTHESIZERS 



indicate on-line and carrier- 
detect conditions. 

Two pages of instructions are 
included for initial setup and a 
self test to ensure proper connec- 
tion. Two manuals also accom- 
pany the Modem 80. One 
describes operation from Basic, 
and the other describes all the 
command functions in the ter- 
minal mode. 

The Software 

The Modem 80's strongest 
point is its software. Four of the 
programs supplied on tape are 
for Basic operation between two 
Modem 80-equipped systems. 
Two of these programs are in 
machine language for the actual 
modem input and output. The 
other two programs are host pro- 
grams which work in conjunc- 
tion with the machine-language 
programs to support either tape 
or disk. 

The last two programs on the 
tape are machine-language ter- 
minal programs. These smart 
terminal programs allow users to 
access computer information 
networks. 

There are 32 command func- 
tions in the terminal mode. 
Capabilities include: eight pro- 
grammable function keys; an 
uppercase/lowercase switch; 
baud rate of 25 to 300; no limit 
on the number of digits you can 
dial; redial-phone-number 
feature; set parity at even, odd or 
no parity; full or half duplex; 
write/load buffer command; 
transmit buffer command; 
save/load function keys; scroll 
buffer command; line-printer 
buffer command; and place- 
markers-in-the-buffer command. 

Hardware 
The Modem 80 is designed 



around the Motorola modem IC 
(MC14412). While this chip is 
capable of either answer or 
originate modes, the Modem 80 
can only send in the originate 
mode, but can receive in either 
mode. Any mode switching is 
done by setting a bit in a control 
word and then sending it to the 
Modem 80's port (port 120). The 
remaining ICs on the board are 
for decoding input/output port 
control words and the active 
filters to respond to only the 
other modem's signal trans- 
mitted over the phone line. A 
filtered power supply is also on 
board for power requirements. 
Modem 80 has proved to me 
that reliable communication be- 
tween systems is possible for a 
low initial cost. 

(ICROM Enterprises Ltd., 1 240 
Bay St., Suite 205, Toronto, On- 
tario, Canada M5R 2A7; $289.) 
Mel Patrick 
June/July 1982 



lUSIC AND VOICE- 
SYNTHESIZERS 



"^ "^ "^ 

Cognivox 
Voicetek 

Model I 

I recently decided to try a 
voice I/O peripheral called 
Cognivox. The advertisement, as 
well as the instruction manual, 
said the Cognivox was fully 
assembled and contained all 
necessary equipment to "plug in 
and use." This is not totally 
true— lacking in the package 
(but available at extra cost) are 



305 



HARDWARE 



the ribbon cable and 40-pin edge 
connectors needed to hook up 
the unit. Other than that one 
point, Cognivox is ready to use 
on arrival. 

The Cognivox comes with a 
power supply, one microphone, 
and a cassette containing the 
software to use Cognivox. The 
software is designed for a Model 
I, Level II computer with at least 
16K. The operating software is 
very small but the memory re- 
quirements for the digitized 
voice data are so great (approx. 
1.5K per second of speech) that a 
16K machine has less than 4K 
left for a Basic program. A 16K 
machine will hold approximately 
1 1 words or phrases unless they 
are very short; word or phrase 
length is limited to a maximum 
of three seconds duration. For- 
tunately, three seconds is a long 
time in speech, so 32K can store 
a usable vocabulary and 16K 
can be functional though 
moderate. 

The software package contains 
a driver called V0X2, and two 
demos called PR0G2 and Dialog. 
Also included are some games, a 
music demo and a program 
called VDUMP that will give a 
verbal output of a memory 
dump in hexadecimal. 

It is obvious that for $149 you 
are not going to get high-fidelity 
voice output from Cognivox. By 
comparison, the voice output is a 
little less accurate than a well 
programmed synthesizer, such 
as the Radio Shack model. 
However, Cognivox does not re- 
quire phoneme programming 
and is therefore easier to use. 
Also it responds with and to 
your accent, not that of a 
machine-sounding synthesizer. 

Training Cognivox is a three- 
pass operation that is simple to 



program. The manual fully 
describes all of the variables and 
addresses needed to institute 
each training pass as well as the 
single-response pass. Most syn- 
thesizers require that each word 
to be spoken is first broken into 
phonemes. Cognivox, on the 
other hand, is programmed by 
speaking the vocabulary into the 
microphone and thereby train- 
ing the Cognivox to repeat or 
recognize the vocabulary. Once 
spoken into the microphone 
three times, the vocabulary is 
memorized and stored for use. 

The manual is very well done 
and supplies all the information 
needed for integrating Cognivox 
into your programs. It does 
assume that you can program in 
Basic. The manual also shows 
the simple steps for creating 
single-voice music and sound 
effects. 

A program that relocates 
rather than just moves code will 
considerably reduce work. Your 
first step should be to make a 
backup of V0X2 and work from 
that. If you do not understand 
Assembly programming or if 
you don't know what I mean 
about disassemblers and 
relocators, then send for VOX 
2. 1 and use your cassette. 
Voicetek will come out with a 
disk-oriented system in the near 
future. 

There are very few limitations 
on vocabulary. You can use a 
maximum of three seconds as 
long as you do not pause for 
more than 150 ms. The phrase 
"How are you" easily fits into a 
three-second input. In fact, 
phrases are reproduced more ac- 
curately than single words. 

Choosing a vocabulary can be 
difficult. Words (especially short 
words) are easily confused by 



o06 



MUSIC AND VOICE SYNTHESIZERS 



Cognivox. Voicetek claims up to 
98 percent accuracy in recogni- 
tion, but I have found that with a 
well chosen vocabulary and a lit- 
tle practice I can get 100 percent 
accuracy in most of my appli- 
cations. 

Cognivox is also the easiest 
voice I/O unit to program and to 
reprogram. Some voice quality is 
sacrificed, but with practice and 
a well chosen vocabulary, clarity 
and recognition improve. How- 
ever, everyone does not have a 
Cognivox, so your progranis will 
be used only on your machine. 
That makes Cognivox an expen- 
sive toy but it is well made and 
well worth the money if you 
have a need for it. 
(Voicetek, P.O. Box 388, Goleta, 
CA 93116, could not be reached 
for an update.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
December 1981 



Isolated Word-Speaker 
Trained System 
(VOXBOX) 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 



you can program the TRS-80 to 
do remarkable things. These 
numbers can control software 
just as if you entered data via 
keyboard. And almost any pro- 
gram that asks for keyboard in- 
put can be changed to accept a 
vocal input through the 
microphone. 

Included with the unit are 
three demonstration programs. 
One is called VOXPLOT, and 
herein lies the key to the speech- 
recognition unit. Running VOX- 
PLOT yields a graph of the four 
parameters making up the iden- 
tification pattern of each 
vocabulary word or phrase. 

When you enter a user pro- 
gram or one of the demo pro- 
grams, you first train the com- 
puter by storing in the driver 
program the vocabulary that 
must accompany the user pro- 
gram. The documentation isn't 
as clear as it should be at this 
point. These steps must be done 
each time you turn the com- 
puter on. 

Besides the obvious 
demonstration programs (they 
work well and are guaranteed to 
boggle minds), it isn't difficult to 



Radio Shack now produces a 
speech-recognition unit that it 
calls an Isolated Word-Speaker 
Trained system. To use it, you 
read into the microphone, which 
is provided with the VOXBOX, 
the words you want to install in- 
to memory. 

The box has a limited 
vocabulary of 32 words at one 
time. The computer returns an 
index number for each word in 
its memory whenever it hears it 
and returns an error code when 
it hears a word it doesn't un- 
derstand. 

From the return code index 




307 



HARDWARE 



write a simple calculator pro- 
gram. Speak in a number, say 
the word "plus" and then 
another number, and then say 
"equals." The answer printed on 
the screen will cause 
nonbelievers to start searching 
the floor for hidden buttons. 
(Tandij/Radio Shack. Fort 
WorUi. TX 76102. The VOXBOX 
is no longer available.) 

Art Welcher 
May 1981 

•k i^ i^ 
Micromoutti 

Micromint Inc. 
Model I and III 

Micromouth is certainly a treat 
to hear. One of the most convinc- 
ing speech attachments tor the 
home computer, its original 
speech was done by a human, 
then digitized. The voice was 
placed into ROM and made part 
of the Digitalker product set 
manufactured by National 
Semiconductor. The first com- 
plete TRS-80 (or Apple) attach- 
ment using the National elec- 
tronics is Micromouth. 

A plastic box encases 
Micromouth and is complete 
with cable and power supply 
that attaches easily to the 
TRS-80: an amplitler is built in. 
but a small speaker is needed to 
plug into it. Then ifs readv to 
go. Typing OUT 127.0 calls the 
sign-on phrase (the only one in a 
lemale voice). "This is 
Digitalker." 

A vocabulary of 143 elements 
is provided with the unit (31 
numbers and nimiber parts: 26 
letters. 79 words, live silences, 
and two tones): other vocabu- 
laries are being developed by Na- 
tional Semiconductor. Additional 
words can easily be made from 

308 



the basic set ("endangers" as 
N-i- dangers -i-ss. for example), 
allowing over 200 words plus all 
possible numbers from to 
999.999.999. Most words needed 
for Basic are there (an unfor- 
tunate exception is Print), as are 
many simple words used in 
bookkeeping or clerical work. 

Micromouth has a self- 
contained, crystal-timed clock 
and all latching circuitry 
necessary for operation. A quick 
command produces the entire 
preprogrammed phrase; a run- 
ning program can continue as 
Micromouth speaks. There are 
no software drivers or other pro- 
gramming baggage beyond com- 
mands for the words the user 
needs. 

The device is provided with 
good documentation and full 
schematics. (Detailed informa- 
tion was published in Byte, since 
Micromouth was designed by 
columnist Steve Ciarcia.) The 
vocabulary ROMs (two 64-kilobit 
chips) are socketed, so new 
vocabularies may be inserted at 
any time. 

There is one amusing feature 
of Micromouth. Because of the 
electronic arrangement, any 
data greater than 143 sent to 
port 127 produces garbage. Nor- 
mally, garbage isn't very useful, 
but spoken garbage is hysterical 
gibberish— or a subtle way to tell 
folks they just entered some 
pretty dumb input. Also. 
Micromouth can be made to 
stumble and stutter by interrupt- 
ing the word being spoken at 
random intervals with the same 
word or another. It starts over 
until allowed to iinish. 

Without the immediate avail- 
ability of exchangeable vocab- 
ularies, Micromouth is limited to 
simple prompting tasks ("2 high. 



MUSIC AND VOICE SYNTHESIZERS 



please try again") or use in 
games or as an all-purpose, 
amaze-your-friends toy. Never- 
theless, it is an excellent exam- 
ple of the progress of speech syn- 
thesis, attractive for specialized 
applications and experimenting, 
and very easy to use. 
(Micromint Inc., 91 7 Midway, 
Woodmere, NY 11598. Micro- 
mouth has been discontinued.) 

Dennis Bathory Kitsz 
April 1982 

'A "A" V2 

The Music Box 

Newtech Computer Systems 

Inc. 

Model I and III 

The Music Box claims to be "a 
sophisticated facility for the com- 
position and performance of 
music operating on the TRS-80 
Microcomputer." Unfortunately, 
while it does fulfill this claim, it 
falls a bit short of actually being 
a truly versatile tool for the 
serious music student. 

The software manual is con- 
fusing and incomplete. By con- 
trast, the hardware manual, 
which gives instructions on how 
to hook The Music Box up to 
your computer, is impeccably 
prepared. 

The Edit program is used to 
enter music into the memory of 
the computer and to change 
music already composed. The 
editor is very straightforward, 
supplying cursor, page, 
measure-step, and home func- 
tions. Unfortunately, this 
straightforward approach is a 
liability, being a little too clumsy 
for any real professional or even 
a beginning student of music. 

The Editor imposes one major 
restriction: If more than one 



voice is selected, all the voices 
called to play at the same time 
(i.e., all voices on the same line 
number) must play for the same 
duration. If voice number one 
has an eighth-note duration, 
voices two, three, and four are 
played for an eighth-note dura- 
tion, even if the music calls for 
something else. 

The Compiler converts the 
music from the notation used by 
the editor to the numerical form 
required by the Play program. It 
is a slow and tedious process to 
wait through. 

The Wave program creates 
and stores new sound wave- 
forms (also called colors or in- 
struments). These are used by 
the Play program as the sound 
that generates notes. Unfor- 
tunately, unless you have had 
courses in phase angles and 
relative amplitudes, the Wave 
program will be nothing more 
than a series of puzzling 
numbers. 

The Play program brings 
everything together and gives 
you three modes of operation. 
The first is simply play the 
music, the second is rehearsal, 
and the third is interactive. 
Rehearsal lets you use the com- 
puter as a musical practice part- 
ner. Interactive mode lets you 
assign refrains of music to cer- 
tain keys on the keyboard. This 
is very, very good for composing 
avant-garde pieces. 

The main advantage of the 
program lies in its technical ver- 
satility. Microtones are useful in 
achieving Eastern musical ef- 
fects, and along with the wide 
variety of possible note lengths, 
can be extremely valuable in 
creating original, unconventional 
compositions. In addition, the 
rehearsal and interactive modes 



309 



HARDWARE 



of the Play program greatly 
enhance its usefulness in the 
creation of music. 

The main disadvantage is the 
poorly written manual. I must 
warn the noncomputerist that 
this package is not easy to learn. 

Yet, if you are a computer 
music enthusiast and you want 
to experiment with unusual 
sounds and special effects, you 
might want to try this package. 
(The Music Box is no longer 
available. Newtech Computer 
Systems Inc., Brooklyn, NY 
11201.) 
Terry Kepner and Erich Whitey 
May 1981 



Orchestra-SO 
(See Page 194) 



■^ 'jf "^ ■^ 
Orcliestra-85 

"^ "^ "^ "^ 
Orcliestra-90 
Software Affair 
Model I and III 

The Orchestra-85 (Model I) and 
90 (Model III) systems consist of 
a machine-language program 
and a small circuit board. The 
new system maintains all the 
features of Orchestra-80 and 
adds many more, including 
stereo sound, percussion, op- 
tional fifth voice, new editing 
features, and improved sound 
quality. The system is down- 
ward compatible with Orches- 
tra-80, but the Orchestra-85 
files that use stereo and voice- 
altering features will not work 
with Orchestra-80. 

The hardware consists of a 
2V4-by-3-inch circuit board con- 



taining nine ICs and two RCA- 
type phono jacks. The board is 
connected to the rear of the 
TRS-80 keyboard or the expan- 
sion interface bus extension and 
any external stereo amplifier. 
No additional power source is 
needed. 

The software consists of a 
machine-language program that 
requires a minimum of 16K. 
About 8K of memory remains 
for music entry in the 16K Level 
II tape version. Both tape and 
disk versions are supplied on a 
high-quality cassette. The pro- 
gram consists of five major 
parts: a digital synthesizer, a 
music language compiler, a text 
editor, a file manager, and an in- 
itialization routine. 

The synthesizer features a 
six-octave range and either 
three, four, or five simultaneous 
voices. The three-voice syn- 
thesizer gives the best sound 
quality. The five-voice synthe- 
sizer should only be used with 
TRS-80S with a high-speed CPU 
clock modification. 

The synthesizer voices are pre- 
programmed to simulate, with 
marginal accuracy, an oboe, a 
trumpet, a clarinet, and an 
organ. You can also define a 
voice as a percussive. Any voice 
or voices may be altered at any 
time within the music file. 

Orchestra-85 and 90 use a 
symbolic language to enter 
musical pieces. The language 
works well and has the capabili- 
ty of producing a wide range of 
musical effects. 

The compiler accepts music 
written in any key, any time 
signature and any note value 
from whole to sixty-fourth notes. 
Notes may be single, double, or 
triple dotted, or played as trip- 
lets. Accidentals, staccato, and 



310 



MUSIC AND VOICE SYNTHESIZERS 



pizzicato note forms are also 
available. Two forms for articula- 
tion are provided, as are the 
capabilities for repeats, second 
endings (with or without retard), 
and modulation. 

The program's text editor is 
very useful as is the file manage- 
ment system. Also useful is the 
initialization routine, which 
allows you to custom configure 
the program to your system. 

Software Affair has kept up 
their tradition of fine documen- 
tation. The 43-page nicely 
typeset and printed manual pro- 
vides full instructions on set-up 
and use of the system, including 
an expanded section for non- 
musicians. 

Registered owners of Oches- 
tra-80 may upgrade by sending 
their system to Software Affair 
with $69.95 and $2 for shipping 
and handling. 

There is one area of the 
system that needs improving. It 
would be much easier to enter 
music if the screen was turned 
into a musical staff— each note 
could then be entered just as it 
appears on sheet music. While 
the graphics capability of the 
TRS-80 is somewhat limited, 
some creative programming 
could undoubtedly solve the 
problem. And Jon Bokelman has 
proved himself a creative pro- 
grammer. 

These products are, however, 
a step forward in TRS-80 music 
synthesizers, and remain the 
best buys in computer music 
systems. 

(Orchestra-85 and 90 are 
marketed by Software Affain 
858 Rubis Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 
94087; Orchestra-85, $129.95, 
Orchestra-90, $149.95.) 

Jim Held 
January 1982 



Percom Data Co. toc» 
Model I 

Percom 's advertisements say 
that the Speak-2-Me-2 interface 
device, when used in conjunc- 
tion with a modified Texas In- 
struments Speak & Spell, cam be 
the voice of a computer through 
the use of a few Basic program 
lines. An external power source 
is needed, as is either an expan- 
sion interface or printer cable 
adapter. 

My Speak-2-Me-2 package w^ 
well presented and Included a 
small printed circuit board, a 
22-page manual, and a ribbon 
cable with connectors at both 
ends. Unfortunately, however, 1 
could not tell from the advertise- 
ment, the documentation, or any 
marking on the hardware which 
cable assembly I had. In any 
case, it eventually worked with 
the expansion interface. 

Initially I was disappointed 
because there seemed to be a 
very small amount of hardware 
for $70. 1 eventually realized 
that more than half of what I 
paid for was the knowledge and 
facility to get to the heart of the 
Speak & Spell and make it work 
with my system. 

The manual is quite thorough. 
The mechanical and electrical 
detail was precise and 
understandable, and there are 
some Basic programs and a 
machine-language program to 
run on the new system. The pro- 
grams were easy to type in and 
use, as soon as I realized I was 
under TRSDOS Basic and had to 
use DEFUSE instead of POKEing 
the starting address of the 
machine-language portion into 
the locations. 



an 



HARDWARE 




After opening up the Speak & 
Spell box and getting access to 
the circuit board on both sides, 
the trick is to locate a pattern on 
the board identical with that in 
the diagram. I made a false start 
with one diagram before finding 
one (in an addendum) that ex- 
actly matched my unit; if your 
Speak & Spell is in any way dif- 
ferent from that depicted in the 
manual, it and the whole 
package can be returned to Per- 
com with $25 for the required 
modification. 

I also tried a home-brew 
10-volt supply to run the unit 
after finding that a standard 
9-volt battery did not have suffi- 
cient current capacity. The 
manual suggested using the 
Radio Shack PN 274-251 power 
adapter. I purchased one and 
found it to work very well. 

After these initial problems, I 
had added a useful new 
peripheral to my system. Per- 
com offers a separate software 
package to give an expanded 
vocabulary. For myself, I much 
prefer the challenge of ex- 
perimenting on my own. 
(Percom Data Co. Inc., 11220 



Pagemill Road, Dallas, TX 
75243; Speak-2-Me-2 is no 
longer available. It originally 
soldfor $69.95.) 

Edward Louis 
July 1981 



TRS-80 Voice Synthesizer 
Tandy/Radio Shack 
Model I 

Radio Shack's Voice Syn- 
thesizer is a completely self- 
contained unit. Like the TRS-80, 
it uses a separate in-line, step- 
down transformer. The syn- 
thesizer can be used on any 
Level I or II TRS-80 and attaches 
by a ribbon cable and 40-pin 
connector expansion port. 

Radio Shack includes a 
demonstration cassette tape with 
the synthesizer. The manual 
provides adequate information 
for anyone who can program in 
Basic. All the programming is 
done in Basic, which makes us- 
ing the synthesizer very simple. 

Based on the program descrip- 
tion, it appears that the voice 
synthesizer acts as a 32-byte 
block of memory paralleling the 
video monitor locations 16352D 
to 16383D. This block is opened 
and closed by the control 
character, ?. The correct pro- 
gramming method for the syn- 
thesizer is to type the ASCII 
character that represents the 
phonetic sound desired. The 
manual includes a table that 
cross-references the phoneme 
symbol and its ASCII character. 

The TRS-80 synthesizer is a 
marvelous invention, but several 
areas can be improved. The first 
is the monotone computer 
sound. Second, some control is 



312 



PRINTERS/PLOHERS 



needed over the speed. Some of 
the sounds are not perfect, but 
the synthesized voice is, for the 
most part, very intelligible. I'd 
recommend the synthesizer for 
most any application where an 
audible prompt is desired. 
(The TRS-80 Voice Synthesizer, 
Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102, is no longer 
available.) 

Jim Wright 
September 1980 



PRINTERS/PLOTTERS- 



■^ -^ ^ 

Anadex DP-8000 Printer 
Anadex Inc. 

The Anadex DP-8000 printer 
attaches to the TRS-80 through 
either of two connectors. One 
provides reference RS-232C and 
20/60-milliamp current loop in- 
terface, and the other provides a 
Centronics-compatible interface. 

The printer prints 80 columns 
at 112 characters per second 
bidirectionally, giving you a 
throughput of 84 lines per 
minute. The 96 characters (up- 
per/lowercase) are formed by a 
9-by-7 dot matrix (no 
descenders). 

Additional features include 
top-of-form control, skip-over- 
perforation control, eight pro- 
grammable vertical tab posi- 
tions, double-width printing, and 
a 1,024-character buffer that can 
be expanded to 2,048. 

Two idiosyncrasies of the 
printer should be noted. Top-of- 
form control is implemented us- 
ing DIP switches to set page 



length. Normally, this works 
fine; however, while at top-of- 
form, all line-feed commands are 
ignored. I even set the form 
length to zero, hoping this would 
disable top-of-form, but all line 
feeds were still ignored. 

The TRS-80 places characters 
in the 1,024-byte buffer of the 
Anadex until a carriage return is 
received. After receiving a car- 
riage return, the line is printed 
while the next one is entering 
the buffer. 

The TRS-80 is finished with 
your LPRINT and is continuing 
with your program while the 
printer is still running. There is 
a dead-man timer within the 
printer, so if nothing comes from 
the TRS-80 in 10 seconds, any 
residue left in the buffer is 
erased. 

Despite these problems, the 
only honest complaints I have 
are with the Anadex ribbon and 
DIP switches for setting page 
length and skip-over-perforation. 
The ribbon is only available from 
Anadex suppliers and only 
comes in intense purple. The 
DIP switches are inside the case, 
so you must remove the paper 
and printer cover to make 
changes. 

Overall, the 80-column 
DP-8000 is a reliable printer at a 
reasonable price. 
(The DP-8000 is now the 
DP-9500. Anadex Inc., 
Chatsworth, CA 91311; $1,650.) 
Walter C. June 
February 1980 



Anderson-Jacobson 
Selectronic 841 
Anderson-Jacobson Inc. 

The Anderson-Jacobson 841 

313 



HARDWARE 



with parallel interface is a 
reconditioned IBM Selectric. This 
printer is less expensive than a 
daisy- wheel; its stand-alone 
diagnostic isolates problems to it 
or the computer; it's compatible 
with the TRS-80, although Radio 
Shack does not support or 
recommend it, and it works well 
with the cables available from 
the A- J distributors and Radio 
Shack. 

The inexpensive system has 
some deficiencies. There is little 
memory available for text after 
you enter Scripsit— 4, 100 
characters in a 16K system, less 
than three double-spaced pages. 
You can overcome this short- 
coming by frequently saving 
edited material on the cassette 
tape, or add more memory to the 
system. You can also add disk 
drives. 

The lesser consequence to 
writers is the slow printer speed 
and the TRS-80/Selectric line- 
feed problem. The latter involves 
single-spacing the paper when 
the program requests a double 
space. Setting the line space 
lever on the printer to "double" 
solves this defect as manuscripts 
are double-spaced anjrway. 

In offline mode, the A-J printer 
functions as a stand-alone 
secretarial model with a variety 
of print fonts available by chang- 
ing the type ball. Most word- 
processor printers cannot be 
separated from the system and 
have no separate keyboard. 

(Anderson-Jacobson Inc., 521 
Charcot Ave., San Jose, CA 
95131. The Selectronic 841, 
which originally sold for $1,095, 
is no longer available.) 

Robert A. Batty 
April 1982 



Base2 
Base 2 IiiCo 

■^ -^ ^ 

Centronics 737 
Centronics Data Computer 
Corp. 

-^ -^ -^ 

Epson MX-80 
Epson America Inc. 

•^ ^ ^ 1/2 

IDS 445 

Integral Data Systems 

•^ ^ ^ V2 

Microline 80 
Okidata Corp. 



I reviewed five printers, made 
by Base2, Centronics, Epson, In- 
tegral Data Systems, and Oki- 
data. All are dot-matrix, have 
upper- and lowercase, accept 
8.5-inch (or wider) paper, and 
are in the $600-81,000 price 
range. These five printers are 
among the most sought-after 
and best values for the hobbyist 
and small businessman. 

The 850 is made by Base2 
Inc., a small California company; 
it replaces the 800, which had 
some problems with print-head 
reliability. The new unit has a 
continuous-duty printer head. 

The 850 is unique in that it 
comes standard with a 2K FIFO 
buffer, bit graphics, RS-232, 20 
mA current loop, IEEE-488, and 
parallel (Centronics-compatible) 
interfaces. This array of inter- 
faces should match any change 
in hardware configurations. The 
buffer is necessary for graphics, 
since a full line of data must be 
sent to the printer before print- 
ing begins. It also allows the use 
of RS-232 at 600 baud without 



314 



PRINTERS/PLOTTERS 



handshaking, for most applica- 
tions. Another unique feature is 
that paper can be fed into the 
printer from the bottom, front or 
rear. I found the 850 to be the 
most difficult for paper loading, 
probably due to the close toler- 
ances used for the friction-feed 
feature. 

The 850 prints an average- 
quality-dot-matrix character, 
and offers its best quality in the 
elongated 132-character-per-line 
mode, yielding 66 characters 
per line. 

The 850 was the only printer 
capable of inverse printing. Its 
processing time was good, plac- 
ing it third in this category. It 
was not the most quiet in the 
group, falling behind the Epson, 
Okidata, and Centronics print- 
ers. The 850 includes most fea- 
tures as standard and has only 
one accessory, a roll-paper hold- 
er (for friction feed) and wire tray 
combination for $25. 

The Centronics 737, also 
known as the Line Printer IV 
from Radio Shack, tied with the 
MX-80 as the lightest printer. It 
was of average noisiness and 
had the only gear-driven print 
head of the five. The print head 
is massive (comparable to the 
IDS 445's) and this, plus its not 
being bidirectional, accounted 
for the fact that the 737 was the 
slowest printer I tested. It com- 
pensates for the slower process- 
ing time, however, with its quali- 
ty, in the proportional mode it 
has the most professional-look- 
ing print I have seen in a dot- 
matrix printer. 

The proportional mode uses 
1,185 dots for the 80-character 
line. It is ideally suited for right- 
justification, since spaces the 
width of dots can be inserted be- 
tween words and letters. The 



737 is the only printer of the five 
that can print subscripts and su- 
perscripts and do true under- 
lining. 

The 737 has friction feed and 
handles only 9.5-inch pinfeed 
paper. The paper carriage is at 
the rear of the unit, making the 
inclusion of tractors impractical. 
The 737 does not have a paper- 
out indicator and is missing a 
hardware top-of-form advance- 
features I would expect to find 
on a printer of this price. It is the 
only printer of the five that offers 
no form of graphics. 

The Epson MX-80 is designed 
to be compatible with the 
TRS-80 and supports Model I 
and III block graphics. With its 
programmable line spacing, the 
MX-80 can print some graphics 
that can't be produced on the 
screen. It has a disposable print 
head that can be replaced for 
under $30, well under other 
print-head prices. 

The MX-80 tied for being the 
lightest in the group (12 lbs.), 
came in second for quietness 
and speed, has descenders, is 
bidirectional, is the least expen- 
sive, and offers the boldest print 
option. It also has the best 
documentation, if you get the 
manual by David Lien rather 
than the standard manual. 

Up to 12 character variations 
can be produced under software 
control. The emphasized mode 
gives an excellent print, very 
close to typewriter quality. In ad- 
dition to the variations on stan- 
dard letters, the MX-80 offers 
some special Japanese, German, 
French, English, and American 
characters. 

Line feed is fairly slow, and the 
lack of a friction-feed feature 
makes use of letterhead impossi- 
ble. Another criticism is that I 



310 



HARDWARE 



have observed characters not be- 
ing placed exactly vertical from 
each other on both the MX-80s I 
have tested; this happens in the 
bidirectional mode and could 
probably be adjusted. New op- 
tions for the MX-80 include high- 
resolution bit graphics, serial 
interface, and an IEEE-488 in- 
terface. 

The Integral Data Systems 
445 Paper Tiger is a replacement 
for the 440. It receives the prize 
for the largest, heaviest, noisiest, 
and fastest printer of the group. 
It has an instantaneous print 
speed of 198 characters per sec- 
ond in compressed mode, so in 
spite of being unidirectional, it 
has a short processing time. 

The 445 comes standard with 
a 256-byte buffer; a 2K buffer is 
included with the graphics op- 
tion. DIP switches can be used to 
select a serial (up to 1,200 baud) 
or a parallel interface. Character 
densities are software- and 
hardware-selectable, and form- 
length control as well as one- 
inch perforation skip features are 
included. 

The 445 prints a good, stan- 
dard dot-matrix quality and 
gives the densest print in the 
132-character-per-line double- 
width mode. It will handle up to 
four-part forms with no adjust- 
ment, and more by turning an 
adjustment knob. The 445 has a 
very fast line feed and, in opera- 
tion, seems to be a very beefy 
commercial-quality printer. It 
has internal room for a 4.5-inch 
roll of paper, assuming one can 
find tractor-feed roll paper. 

The smallest and quietest of 
the five printers, the Okidata 
Microline 80 prints TRS-80 block 
graphics and seems to do a 
slightly more uniform job than 
the Epson. It has a pinfeed roller 



fixed at the 9.5-inch paper 
width. A tractor option can be 
snapped on or off very easily, so 
one can use friction-feed roll 
paper for keeping costs down, 
and switch to fanfold for the 
more important jobs. When in 
the 80-character-per-line mode, 
the Microline can be set to 64 
characters (still at 10 cpi) to give 
a convenient left and right 
margin. 

It prints 80 cps in the 10-cpi 
mode, as does the MX-80, but 
the Microline 80 is unidirec- 
tional. This means it will take 
about 34 percent longer to print 
a typical Basic program. 
(Base2 Inc., P.O. Box 3458, 
Fullerton, CA 92631; $799. Cen- 
tronics Data Computer Corp., 1 
Wall St., Hudson, NH 03051 ; 
$995. Epson America Inc., 2384 
Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance, CA 
90505; $645. Integral Data 
Systems, Milford, NH 03055; 
$795. Okidata Corp., 1 1 1 
Gaither Drive, Mt. Laurel, NJ 
08057; $800.) 

Harley Dyk 
April 1982 

■^ "^ "^ "^ 

C. Itoh ProWriter 8510 

C. Itoh Electronics 

The ProWriter is a dot-matrix 
printer with high-quality print 
for the serious user, and a full 
repertoire of tricks for the hob- 
byist. It is made by TEC and 
marketed in this country by C. 
Itoh, a firm known for its daisy- 
wheel printers. 

This printer is also being 
marketed as the ADS 8001 and, 
with a slightly different body 
style, as the NEC 8023A. 

The 8510 accepts single 
sheets, roll paper, or fanfold, and 



316 



PRINTERS/PLOWERS 



can produce up to three carbons. 
Printing speed is 100 characters 
per second (unidirectional or 
bidirectional with logic seeking). 
A quick-cancel feature moves 
the print head faster when it is 
repositioned for the next line. 
Paper feeding can be forward or 
reverse. Line-feed spacing is 
variable from 1/144 to 99/144 
inch, making superscripting and 
subscripting easy. 

It has a dot-addressable 
graphics mode for designing 
your own characters or making 
fancy drawings. The dots can be 
printed with a resolution of up to 
160 dots per inch horizontally 
and 144 vertically. 

Sixteen DIP switches let you 
set up a variety of default condi- 
tions. Other standard goodies in- 
clude: a typewriter-like propor- 
tional character set; a self-test 
function; and a 1,500-character 
buffer that allows the Pro Writer 
to accept data while printing. 

Standard pushbuttons for line 
feed, form feed, and se- 
lect/deselect are located in a 
recessed portion of the front 
panel, as are three LED lights to 
indicate power-on, select, and 
paper-empty conditions. 

At nearly 19 pounds, the Pro- 
Writer is hefty compared to 
some other small printers. It is 
the steel in the machine that ac- 
counts for the weight. It also 
tends to give a feeling of con- 
fidence in the durability of the 
machine. Most of the plastic is 
on the outside. Its internal 
parts are held together by 
screws, not glue. 

The print head is attached 
with two screws and can be easi- 
ly replaced. An upcoming ver- 
sion of the 85 10 will have a 
snap-in print head. The 
estimated life of the head is rated 



at 100 million characters. A 
replacement costs about $75. 

The Pro Writer uses a 
cartridge-type ribbon that simply 
snaps in place and doesn't re- 
quire any threading. A new car- 
tridge sells for about $12 and 
should be good for 3 million 
characters. 

The printer can be ordered 
with Centronics parallel, RS-232- 
C serial, or Apple computer in- 
terfacing. A TRS-80 connecting 
cable is not included, but the 
8510 with parallel interface 
works well on my Model I using 
a standard Radio Shack printer 
cable, catalog number 26-1401. 

The Pro Writer's graphics 
characters are not the same as 
the block graphics generated on 
the TRS-80 screen. Those 
characters can, however, be 
built using the printer's dot- 
addressable graphics. 

The manual contained a few 
erroneous or missing decimal 
values for some of the ASCII con- 
trol codes. Other than this, and 
some phrases that must have 
been poorly translated from 
Japanese, the documentation 
is good. 

Most of the control codes are 
straightforward, although some 
require a numeric value be sent 
in its ASCII form. 

Fanfold and roll paper are 
threaded into the rear of the 
printer and exit through the top. 
A separator is not necessary. 
Single sheets are fed tlirough a 
separate opening in the top of 
the printer. (I would ask for an 
easier single-threading tech- 
nique.) 

One problem normally en- 
countered in single-sheet print- 
ing is that the printer may in- 
dicate that it is out of paper 
when there are still a few un- 



317 



HARDWARE 



printed lines at the bottom of a 
page. The Pro Writer lets you 
override this false paper-empty 
signal by repeatedly pressing the 
select switch and thus print to 
the bottom of the sheet. 

Sophisticated forms control is 
possible on this printer. You can 
define page length, top and bot- 
tom margins, left margin, and 
up to 16 horizontal tabs. The 




8510 can also be programmed to 
remember five separate page for- 
mats, each page having its own 
vertical tab settings. 

The 85 10 has standard and 
proportional print. Both styles 
contain the full ASCII set with 
the lowercase and descenders, as 
well as an assortment of 
graphics, Greek letters, and 
some useful symbols. A set of 
Japanese characters is also in- 
cluded. 

Standard (uniformly spaced) 
letters can be printed in six sizes 
ranging from 40 to 136 charac- 
ters per line, and proportional 
letters (actually a separate set of 
very nicely shaped characters) 
can be printed in two sizes. Both 
print styles can be enhanced 

318 



with bold printing and solid 
underlining. There are 32 dif- 
ferent ways to represent a given 
character. You can change from 
one combination to another in 
the middle of a line. This printer 
doesn't arbitrarily cancel a se- 
lected mode at the end of a line. 

No one printer can be 
everything to everybody. I find 
the VFU cumbersome to pro- 
gram and usually don't even 
bother with it, except for chan- 
nel 1 now and then. If you nm 
programs requiring fancy ver- 
tical forms control, you will find 
the VFU a blessing, but I prefer 
an easier method of setting ver- 
tical tabs. 

I have both hot and cold feel- 
ings about the 1.5K buffer. 
Although it is sometimes great 
to have immediate access to my 
computer after executing a long 
LPRINT list, it can be a curse, 
since there is no way of purging 
the buffer if you change your 
mind after the printing is under- 
way, I would like a button to 
clear the buffer without cancel- 
ling other activated functions. 

Objections notwithstanding, I 
would not trade my Pro Writer 
for any of the other printers on 
the market within several hun- 
dred dollars of its price. 
(C. Itoh Electronics Inc., 5301 
Beethoven St., Los Angeles, CA 
90066; parallel $795, serial 
$845.) 

Mike Keller 
May 1982 



■^ "^ "^ 

C. Itoh Daisy-Wheel Printer 

C. Itoh Electronics Inc, 

The C. Itoh company is the 
parent company marketing a 



PRINTERS/PLOTTERS 



line of daisy- wheel printers 
under at least four brands: C. 
Itoh, Starwriter, Tokyo Electric 
Company (TEC), and Vista. Ap- 
parently, all four are identical. 
They are available in either 25- 
or 45-characters-per-second ver- 
sions. Both speeds are available 
in either an RS-232 serial port or 
a Centronics-type parallel port. 

Print quality is excellent. The 
C. Itoh printer uses Diablo-com- 
patible 96-character print wheels 
that are readily available and in- 
expensive. Wheels are available 
in many fonts of both elite and 
pica sizes. Ribbons are in a car- 
tridge, and they come in either 
regular fabric or carbon film. 

There are two modes of opera- 
tion: line and serial. The line 
mode types bidirectionally and 
prints only on receipt of a car- 
riage return (ODH). No special 
features are available in this 
mode. The serial mode prints 
each character as it is received. 

Special features, such as 
underlining, superscripts, and 
subscripts, are possible by send- 
ing an ESC code (IBH) followed 
by one or more characters. You 
can set letter spacing at 1-120 
characters per inch. Vertical line 
spacing ranges between 1/48 
inch to 1 inch. It can jump to 
tabs in either forward or reverse, 

I did notice a few problems. 
The manual is not too bad, but 
is typical of Japanese transla- 
tions. It is necessary to reread 
some sections several times to 
understand. However, the 
necessary information is there. 

The platen is 15 inches long 
and will print a line until receiv- 
ing a carriage return (ODH). 
There is no way to make a line 
wrap around. If you are using 
8y2-inch paper and LLIST and a 
Basic program, part of your data 



will print on the rubber platen. 
Another DIP switch to set line 
length would be helpful. 

My last complaint might seem 
trivial, but it is bothersome. The 
carriage return is slow. It takes a 
full second to return 15 inches, 
but this is only noticeable in the 
serial mode. 

Overall, this is an excellent 
printer. 

(C. Itoh Electronic Inc., 5301 
Beethoven St., Lxjs Angeles, CA 
90066; $1,995.) 

Patrick Morgan 
February 1982 

■^ ^ "^ 

Centronics 730 
Centronics Data Computer 



Interested in a printer that 
handles the full 96-character 
ASCII upper- and lowercase char- 
acter set at 31 lines per minute 
takes pin-feed, single sheets, or 
cheap roll paper; comes in 
parallel or serial interface ver- 
sions and weighs less than 10 
pounds? This offer from Centron- 
ics may be just what you're look- 
ing for. 

Since the printer is unidirec- 
tional—the carriage takes almost 
as long to return as it does to 
print a line— the advertised 50 
cps (Instantaneous) speed is 
closer to 41 cps. Characters are 
formed by a 7-by-7 dot-matrix 
impact print head and can also 
be printed in double width. 

A print buffer allows a max- 
imum line of 80 characters, 
printed 10 characters to the inch 
(six lines per vertical inch). An 
additional separate line feed buf- 
fer can store up to 255 line feeds, 
each of which moves the paper 

319 



HARDWARE 



1/6 of an inch. The TRS-80 paral- 
lel interface version (730- 1) also 
has a built-in automatic carriage 
return and line feed, so no extra 
control characters need be sent to 
get proper listings. 

While on the subject of line 
feeds, there is one quirk. You 
cannot skip an extra line on 
the printer by typing LPRINT 
alone as you do on the screen. In- 
stead you must print a blank 
(LPRINT" ") or LPRINT 
CHR$(138). 

The ribbon is a nightmare on 
first sight— yards and yards of 
ribbon (20 to be exact) lying loose 
in a tray. No reels! There is a 
Mobius twist in the ribbon, so 
that both sides will be used. A 
small drive roller pulls the ribbon 
and can be twisted manually 
counterclockwise to remove 
slack. Ribbon replacements come 
in a zip-pack which is placed in 
the compartment and pulled off 
the ribbon in a sort of "yank the 
tablecloth out from under the 
plates" routine. I understand 
later ribbons will come in an 
easier-to-use cartridge. 

The 18-page manual, definitely 
a rush Job, is supposed to be re- 
placed by a better one. The main 
text and drawings are legible, but 
the schematic is not. There is no 
exploded diagram with accompa- 
nying part numbers, so if 
something goes wrong, it will be 
difficult to repair. 

If you've read this far, you've 
probably gotten the impression 
that I'm sold on my new printer, 
and you're right. I think it's a 
dam good buy for the money. 
(Centronics Data Computer 
Corp., 1 Wall St, Hudson, NH 
03051. The 730 is no longer 
available.) 

Louise H. Frankenburg 
July 1980 



"f^ "^ -f^ 

Centronics 739 
Centronics Data Computer 
Corp. 

The Centronics 739 is a dot- 
matrix printer. At 14.5 by 1 1 
inches, this compact printer fits 
neatly alongside a Model I, II, or 
III. The 739 accepts fanfold 
paper up to 9.5 inches wide, and 
roll or single-sheet paper up to 
8.5 inches wide. It prints 40 
characters per second (the 
manual claims 100 cps but my 
tests showed it to be slower than 
my NEC Spinwriter, rated at 55 
cps) with vertical spacing of six 
lines per inch and horizontal 
spacing of either 10 characters 
per inch (cpi) or 16.7 cpi. 

The 739 has a primary and a 
secondary character set. The 
primary character set is the 
standard 96 U.S. ASCII 
monospaced characters. The 
secondary character sets include 
switch-selectable sets for France, 
United Kingdom, Germany, 
Italy, and Sweden/Finland. The 
739 is available for either 
parallel port or serial port con- 
figured applications. Both 
printers link up with the host 
device via 40-pin edge connector 
cables. 

The 739 uses a unidirectional 
print head that slows it substan- 
tially. But it has some excellent 
features including support of 
underlining, proportional spac- 
ing for justification, elongated 
characters (in both the 10 cpi 
and the 16.7 cpi modes), 
backspacing and half line feed 
forward and reverse for sub- 
scripting and superscripting. It 



^ » ™™™^ VVA y***** ■ ""4-^ M4' 



I— — 'WV 




320 



PRINTERS/PLOWERS 



also has a select graphics mode. 
This mode provides 75 horizon- 
tal and 72 vertical dots per inch 
for good quality resolution. 

The 739' s most obvious short- 
coming is its lack of speed. All of 
its control knobs are located at 
the bottom along the front por- 
tion of the cabinet where they 
can be difficult to see and 
manipulate. The paper advance 
control allows single line ad- 
vance or continuous advance; 
there is no form-feed control. 
The operator's manual commits 
a series of sins of omission. 

The Centronics 739 will be a 
solid seller because Centronics 
will stand behind the machine 
with service and back-up sup- 
port. If this is important to you, 
the 739 is a good buy. There are 
other printers on the market, 
however, packed with features 
and much less expensive. 
(Centronics 739 is sold by Cen- 
tronics Data Computer Corp., 1 
Wall St., Hudson, NH 03051; 
$995 parallel port, $1 ,045 serial 
port.) 

G. Michael Vose 
December 1981 

-^ "^ 

Comprint 912 
Computer Printers 
International 

The Comprint 912 is a matrix 
printer that can print a line of 80 
characters in about Va of a sec- 
ond. Whereas most other print- 
ers use a 5-by-7 or 7-by-9 
matrix, the Comprint uses a 
9-by-12 matrix. It also features 
lowercase letter descenders. 

The printer comes with a 
100-foot roll of thermal paper. A 
300-foot replacement roll costs 
$8. You can write on the 
aluminized paper with either 



pencil or ball-point pen, the 
bonding is good, and no 
aluminum dust wears off onto 
your fingers. 

To connect a Comprint 912 to 
your TRS-80, be certain that you 
specify model 912-GP. An older 
parallel version, 912-P, is com- 
plicated to connect. The model 
GP requires you to pull out one 
jumper plug and plug the printer 
cable into your expansion or 
printer cable interface. The only 
tool you need is a screwdriver. 
(Computer Printers Interna- 
tional, Mountain View, CA 
94043 could not be reached for 
an update. The Comprint 912 
originally sold for $660.) 

Mike Aronson 
November 1980 



•^ ^ -^ V2 

Coosol 10 1B-80E Printer 

Coosol Inco 

The printer mechanism of the 
Coosol 101B-80E printer kit is a 
C. Itoh 830 with pin-feed platen 
accepting 1 -91/2-inch paper. 
The controller board provided by 
Coosol uses a Cybernetic 
Microsystems CY-480 printer 
controller chip. This controller 
chip is a masked ROM micro- 
processor designed for a variety 
of dot-matrix printers. The basic 
features are a 5-by-7 dot-matrix 
character generator, full ASCII 
96-character font, internal 
48-character line buffer, 
graphics capability, 32 system 
level commands, selectable baud 
rate (1 10-9600 bps), built-in self 
test, and parallel port with hand- 
shaking. 

Coosol uses two CY-480s in its 
controller board which gives a 
preset line buffer of 88 
characters. The only problem is 



Old. I 



that there is no overrun protec- 
tion in the buffer. If you output 
more than 88 characters without 
a line terminator (CR or FF), you 
lose the additional characters up 
to the terminator. 

The construction manual is 
very complete and easy to 
follow. It takes you step by step 
through the construction of the 
printed circuit board and the 
wiring of the power supply. The 
printer is pre-wired and requires 
only the drive motor and print- 
head cables to be plugged into 
the controller board. 

The reference manual pro- 
vides you with all the necessary 
functional and operational infor- 
mation pertaining to the printer. 
It also gives examples of the soft- 
ware driver routines to be used 
with six different micropro- 
cessors (including the Z80). One 
item not covered in the manual 
clearly is that the strobe pulse 
must be a minimum of 4 
microseconds in length. The 
TRS-80 only outputs a 1.6 
microsecond pulse, so addi- 
tional circuitry must be added to 
provide a pulse stretcher. 

I am most pleased with the ad- 
dition of this printer to my sys- 
tem and would recommend it to 
anyone wanting reasonable print 
capability at minimum cost. 
(The Coosol 101B-80E Printer 
Kit is sold by Coosol Inc., 
Anaheim, CA 92803; $555.) 

Peter E. Noeth 
December 1981 



•^ -^ ^ ^ V2 
Daisy Wheel II 
Tandy/Radio Shack 

One of the most promising 
products that Radio Shack an- 
nounced in late August 1980 



was the Daisy Wheel II printer. It 
represents a pricing break- 
through in word-processing ac- 
cessories. 

The Daisy Wheel II is well 
designed and carefully con- 
structed of heavy-gauge cast 
aluminum. The sparse, but func- 
tional front panel displays a 
power light and two switch- 
es—on-line/off-line and pitch 
control. There are three possible 
pitch modes: 10 characters per 
inch, 12 characters per inch, and 
proportional spacing. 

The wheel and print wheel 
were designed so that they are 
easy to remove and replace. The 
interior controls are equally sim- 
ple; impression intensity of the 
print is controlled by a simple, 
three-position switch inside the 
printer. 

At the rear of the printer are 
two switches— power and self- 
test. The self-test reveals 
characters that can't be accessed 
by either Electric Pencil or Scrip- 
sit, the two best-known pre- 
mium TRS-80 word processors. 
But don't let that throw you; the 
Daisy Wheel II seems capable of 
printing both the French and 
German alphabets, if you have 
the software to generate them. 

With a print speed of 43 char- 
acters per second, carriage re- 
turn speed of 300ms/ 13.6, and 
line-feed speed of four inches per 
second, the Daisy Wheel II can 
compare with more expensive 
units. 

For anyone who wants letter- 
quality word processing, the 
Daisy Wheel II can provide it at a 
fraction of the cost of other 
systems. 

(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $1,995.) 

Bob Liddil 
January 1981 



322 



PRINTERS/PLOTTERS 



DIP-81 

Data Impact Products Inc. 

The DIP-81 is an impact 
printer capable of printing 100 
characters per second bidirec- 
tionally on an 80-character line. 
The normal print mode is a 
7-by-7 dot matrix but can be ex- 
panded under software control 
to a 14-by-7 matrix. 

The DIP-81 is not a marvel of 
advanced technology. It uses 
proven parts to accomplish a 
simple task— print. The print 
mechanism is manufactured by 
the Two Day Corporation and 
uses a single ac synchronous 
motor to drive the print head 
and paper feed mechanism. The 
print head itself is a seven-wire 
design that has a rated life of 
100 million characters. 

Connecting my DIP-81 with 
the parallel interface to my LNW 
Expansion Interface was no 
problem. The unit turned on and 
operated properly the first time I 
tried it. I am quite satisfied with 
my DIP-81. While I wouldn't 
recommend it for highest-quality 
business applications, it makes 
an excellent printer for the 
personal-computer owner. 
(The DIP-81, once marketed by 
Data Impact Products Inc, 745 
Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA 
021 10, has been replaced by 
the D-92 Dual Mode Printer, 
which sells for $339.) 

David Tinis 
October 1981 

^ ^ ^ ^ 

DB-9500 Line Printer 

Anadex Inc. 

The DB-9500 is one of the bet- 
ter designs among dot matrix 
printers on the market. It in- 



cludes built-in parallel, serial, 
and current loop interfaces; two 
type fonts available (9-by-9 and 
condensed 7-by-9) for 10, 12 and 
13.3 characters per inch, and six 
or eight lines per inch; individual 
dot-addressable graphics; and 
150-200 cps speed. 

All parameters (except I/O for- 
mat) are software- as well as 
switch-selectable. A ready line 
prevents data from going to the 
printer prematurely so that all 
characters are printed. 

The print quality is crisp and 
clear in both fonts. A lever with 
detent stops controls the dis- 
tance of the print head from the 
platen. Set the lever for max- 
imum separation to load the 
paper more easily and then set it 
back for the correct impact pres- 
sure. This is a much better ar- 
rangement than the fixed-gap 
method used by most printers. 

Its operation is almost flaw- 
less. Hooked up to our TRS-80 
word processing system, the 
printer performed correctly on 
the first run. Running a mail list, 
the top two lines on each page 
did not have the correct separa- 
tion with the perforation skip set 
at one inch. This might have 
been caused by paper drag as 
the paper came out of its box; 
when half an inch skip setting 
was used, there wasn't a prob- 
lem with paging. 
(Anadex Inc., Chatsworth, CA 
91 31 1 ; $1,650 Model I com- 
patible.) 

Edward E. Umlor 
October 1980 



Dynatyper KeylMiard 
Actuator 
Rocliester Data Inc. 

A keyboard actuator is an ar- 

323 



HARDWARE 



ray of solenoids that fits over a 
typewriter keyboard. In response 
to LPRINT or LLIST, the ac- 
tuator drives a plastic arm down 
onto the appropriate key and 
produces honest-to-goodness 
letter-quality output. If you 
already own an electric 
typewriter, then an actuator is 
an inexpensive alternative to the 
daisy-wheel printer. 

The big disadvantage is speed. 
A Dynatyper averages about 
eight characters per second. You 
can boost this to 15 or even 20 
characters per second, but you 
may lose some letters as the 
typewriter fails to keep pace with 
the mechanical typist. Solenoid 
heating can also be a problem at 
high speeds. Since repeatedly 
hitting the same key without an 
adequate cooling period can be 
damaging, typewriter graphics 
are limited. 

Installation is simple. Two 
supports are mounted on the 
outside of your typewriter. You 
remove the cover of the 
Dynatyper and manipulate four 
nylon screws to adjust the 
height of the unit over the keys. 
When each plunger activates its 
key near the bottom of its stroke, 
you replace the cover and hook 
up the cables. 

Each time you use the 
Dynatyper, you load and run a 
Basic program. The program 
takes over your top 306 bytes of 
RAM, POKEing a machine-lan- 
guage driver routine into that 
space. There is some inconve- 
nience both in lost memory and 
in the time required to load the 
4K Basic program. This last 
problem is mitigated if you have 
a stringy-floppy or disk. Loss of 
the strategic top bytes may in- 
terfere with your own machine- 
language programs. 



The Dynatyper's poor docu- 
mentation is its weakest feature. 
The would-be modifier of the 
driver program gets little sup- 
port beyond a listing and a brief 
explanation of the operating 
philosophy. Worse, the Assem- 
bly listing of the machine-lan- 
guage program that resides in 
high memory does not use the 
standard Z80 mnemonics famil- 
iar to EDTASM fans. Fortu- 
nately, there are enough com- 
ments to permit comprehension. 

The Dynatyper is not a "set it 
and forget it" device. Its height 
must be readjusted periodically. 
The solenoid plungers must be 
deemed regularly, too. For- 
tunately, it is a simple job. 

The low cost and flexibility of 
the Dynatyper make it an attrac- 
tive product. The one-year war- 
ranty is a big plus. I am happy 
with mine after several months' 
service. 

(The actuator by Rochester 
Data Inc. of Rochester, NY 
14601, originally sold for $499. 
This company could not be 
reached for an update.) 

Paul Snow 
December 1981 



■^ "^ "^ 

Escon Selectric Interface 

Escon Products Inc. 

The Escon Selectric 
Typewriter Interface Kit enables 
any Selectric typewriter to 
operate as a printer. The kit in- 
cludes an electronic interface 
(blue box) and electro- 
mechanical components. 

The kit works with any Selec- 
tric and operates at a maximum 
speed of 12.5 characters per sec- 
ond. The electronic interface ac- 
cepts data in RS-232 or TTL 



O^^ 



PRINTERS/PLOHERS 



parallel form. You may use 1 10, 
150, 300, 600, 1,200, 2,400, 
4,800, or 9,600 baud rates. 

The interface has a 
96-character buffer and will ac* 
commodate various forms of 
handshaking. Instructions are 
Included for interfacing to the 
Model I (with or without Expan- 
sion Interface) and the Model II 
and III. 

The early versions of the 
Model I Selectric with serial 
numbers beginning with 4 have 
a small problem. A spring that 
debounces the space bar gets in 
the way of solenoid mounting. 
You can remove the spring and 
the unit will not suffer as a 
printer, though it will be very 
poor as a typewriter. As an alter' 
native, IBM will modify the 
typewriter to operate like the 
later models and it will then per- 
form well as a printer or 
typewriter. 

Operating this unit from a 
TRS-80 Model I without an Ex- 
pansion Interface requires a 
printer interface cable (Radio 
Shack number 26-141 1), which 
you must then wire to the blue 
box of the interface unit. 

The instructions are quite 
clear on how to adjust the 
linkages; they caution to expect 
imperfect copy until you have 
made adjustments. Documenta- 
tion on the system is good and 
would allow a user to repair 




or modify the unit with rela- 
tive ease. 

Solenoid installation requires 
work and patience and the nerve 
to pull guts from that costly 
Selectric. Escon will install the 
solenoids (for a fee) if the job 
seems to formidable. 

For letter-quality printing on a 
reliable, sturdy (although slow) 
machine, the Escon interface 
and a Selectric typewriter com- 
bine to form an attractive printer 
alternative. 

(Escon Products Inc., 12919 
Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon, CA 
94583; $599.) 

Mike Rigsby 
June/July 1982 



■^^ ■^C "^f 

IDS 440 

Paper Tiger Printer 

Integral Data Systems Inc. 

The IDS Model 440 Paper 
Tiger is a 7-by-7 dot-matrix, up- 
per- and lowercase printer in the 
50-100 characters per second 
range. 

The printer comes in an at- 
tractive, removable plastic case. 
All the controls are reached 
through cuts in the case or 
mounted on the metal back 
plate. There are no unguarded 
openings, so even a clumsy fel- 
low like me can reach behind 
the printer for the fuse socket or 
main power switch with relative 
safety. 

Both paper tractors are con- 
tinuously adjustable for paper 
widths up to 9.5 inches. A paper 
roll holder is available as an 
option. 

Seven DIP switches control the 
other adjustable features. 
Though plainly marked, they are 
small and close together, and 



325 



HARDWARE 



you might easily move more 
than one switch at a time. It is a 
good idea to turn off the main 
power switch when reconfigur- 
ing any of the DIP switches. 

Switches 1 and 2 on the left 
bank control the print 
sizes— 8.3, 10, 12, and 16.5 
characters per inch, giving an 
8-inch line length of 66, 80, 96, 
or 132 characters, respectively. 
Switch 3 selects six- or eight-line 
vertical spacing, and switch 4 
enables or disables a one-inch 
skip at form boundaries. 

Switch 5 enables or disables 
an automatic line feed with car- 
riage returns. If a program was 
originally written for a printer 
without an automatic line feed, 
the necessary feeds were prob- 
ably incorporated in the pro- 
gram, and this switch must be 
disabled. It should definitely be 
off for Electric Pencil. 

Overall mechanical perfor- 
mance of my Paper Tiger is ex- 
cellent. I have had no mechani- 
cal breakdowns that required 
service. 

I have had certain software 
problems operating the Tiger in 
conjunction with my TRS-80, 
however. I found that TAB char- 
acters do not work past the 63rd 
character in a printer line*, and 
once my Tiger hung up on a 
long, multi-statement line in a 
program listing. I simply broke 
the line into several lines of 
Basic and had no more trouble 
of this nature. 

(Integral Data Systems Inc., 
Milford, NH 03055. The IDS 440 
Paper Tiger is no longer avail- 
able.) 

* If he's using a Model I, Level II 
or TRSDOS, then the fault in 
TAB is the computer's! 

James H. Sheats 
October 1980 



T^ * * 

IDS 460 Printer 

Integral Data Systems Inc. 

The 460 is a microprocessor- 
controlled, bidirectional, dot- 
matrix line printer, available 
with a 2K character buffer and 
raster scan graphics option. It 
has a nine-wire ballistic print- 
head with true descenders. It 
handles paper widths from 1.5 
to 9.5 inches (tractor feed only; 
an optional single-sheet feeder is 
available for 8.5-by-l 1-inch 
paper). 

The printer can underline text 
with a solid line. Paper can be 
moved under software control, 
allowing subscripts, super- 
scripts, or equations. Up to eight 
vertical tabs can be pro- 
grammed. The user controls 
margins, tabs, and inter- 
character spacing. Character 
widths are available in 4.8, 5.8, 
8, 10, 12, and 16.5 characters 
per inch. 

The 460 has constant pitch 
and proportional spacing modes 
for all character widths. The pro- 
portional mode prints letters 
with a constant space between 
the end of one letter and the 
beginning of the next, which 
looks more pleasing than fixed 
spacing from center to center. 

Page length can be set at 
power-up to one of eight lengths. 
Under software control, the top, 
bottom, left, and right margins 
can be set in increments of 1/48 
inch vertically and 1/20 inch 
horizontally. Line spacing can be 
set to six or eight lines per inch 
at power-up, but set to any spac- 
ing in 1/48-inch increments via 
software. Right margin justifica- 
tion is built in; the right margin 
can be made straight under 
printer control, even in the pro- 



326 



PRINTERS/PLOHERS 



portional spacing mode. 

The 460 has both serial 
(RS-232) and parallel (Centron- 
ics-style) interfaces built in. The 
interface is selected by moving 
jumpers in a socket on the main 
circuit board. All other logic 
default controls, including on/off 
of auto line feed with carriage 
return, fixed or proportional 
spacing, parity select and baud 
rate (for serial interface), form 
size, line spacing, and automatic 
paging at form boundaries, are 
selected by switches at the top of 
the printer. 

The unit's footprint is 15.75 
inches wide by 12.5 inches deep. 
It is over 12 inches high, allow- 
ing room for over 500 sheets of 
paper under the printer and for 
straightforward placement of the 
main circuit board behind the 
paper path. 

I have printed over 4 million 
characters with my 460 so far. I 
am on the second ribbon (even 
though the first one wasn't too 
light when I replaced it— IDS 
suggests about 5 million char- 
acters per ribbon). The ribbon 
costs about $13, is not too messy 
to replace, and produces even 
inking across the page. 

The 460 has performed fault- 
lessly, save one problem. Mine 
tried to self-destruct when I sent 
it one code sequence, blowing a 
fuse in the motor power supply. I 
called IDS and learned the prob- 
lem occurs when an escape code 
(decimal 27) is sent, putting the 
printer in the programming 
mode, and then a decimal 3 is 
sent. This is not a legal sequence 
and should not occur in prac- 
tical use. 

I have had no other problems 
with my printer. Its capabilities 
optimize the operation of several 
word processors and operating 



systems. Its form feed, line feed, 
and forward/reverse feed are 
conveniently located and logical 
in operation. (The print head-to- 
platen spacing adjustment is less 
convenient, but needed only 
when a considerable change in 
form thickness is made.) 

The printing rate varies de- 
pending on character size. At 10 
cpi, proportionally spaced, the 
460 outputs about 150 
characters per second. Since it 
prints in both directions, the 
throughput is very nearly this 
great. In enhanced modes it out- 
puts about 80 cps. 

The graphics mode provides 
complete individual dot control. 
In this mode it prints unidirec- 
tionally to assure better line-to- 
line synchronization. At least 
one company has a graphics 
driver available for high- 
resolution (84-by-84 dots per 
inch) plots. 

The IDS 460 is not the least 
expensive matrix printer on the 
market, but it has about every 
feature anyone would want and 
prints the finest-looking font of 
any printer I have seen for under 
$1,500. A wide-platen version 
(IDS 560) is available for 15-inch 
paper capability. 
(Integral Data Systems Inc., 
Milford, NH 03055. The IDS 460 
is no longer available.) 

Dennis J. Wilkins 
April 1982 



KGS-80 Keyboard Actuator 
Kogyosha Company 
NIK Mternational 



The KGS-80 Keyboard Ac- 
tuator turns an IBM Selectric or 



30" 
mm i 



HARDWARE 



similar typewriter into a high- 
quality printer without modify- 
ing the typewriter. 

It takes only minutes to posi-' 
tion the unit on the keyboard, 
plug it into the expansion inter- 
face, or directly into the CPU us- 
ing the Radio Shack printer in- 
teiiface cable, and make a few 
minor adjustments. Because the 
unit does not require software to 
operate, it is fully compatible 
with the Electric Pencil, and 
should work equally well with 
Scripsit or other text editing 
programs. 

If you don't have a Selectric. 
the KGS-80 will need to be 
realigned to the new keyboard 
by removing the top cover and 
adjusting four set screws. The 
set screws position the tips of the 
solenoids to the proper height 
above the typewriter keys. A gap 
of about 0.02-0.08 inches seems 
to work best. After making ad- 
justments, you can lift the 
KGS-80 from the keyboard and 
replace it in a matter of seconds. 

The original factory speed set- 
ting can be changed from 10 
characters per second to 20 
characters per second, excluding 
the shift lock/release and carriage 
return, by rotating controls VR2 
and VR3 on the circuit board. 




Control VR4 adjusts the delay 
time between the carriage return 
and the first letter of the next 
line, amd is factory set for a stan- 
dard 12-inch carriage. The delay 
time can be increased to accom- 
modate the return of extra long 
carriages, however. All the above 
mentioned adjustments can te 
made manually without the 
need for special software. 

All characters are printed in 
upper- and lowercase. With a 
special IBM typing element the 
ASCII signs can also be printed. 
The operative ASCII input code 
is 13, 32 through 92, 95, and 97 
through 122. A line feed is 
automatically inserted with each 
carriage return. 

The KGS-80 will not take the 
place of a heavy-duty line printer 
if continuous use is required. 
The solenoids are not designed 
to exceed 400 successive repeti- 
tions without other letters and 
symbols being activated. This 
could be a problem if you wish 
to use it as a screen printer with 
very little on the video monitor. 
The successive activation of the 
space bar solenoid might cause 
it to overheat and lock-up. 

The lock-up characteristic is a 
safety feature of the Kogyosha 
solenoids to prevent burnout. 
Models that became available 
after September 1980 have two 
solenoids, instead of one, which 
allow more continuous use of the 
space bar. 

Another modification available 
is a buffer circuit that will allow 
the KGS-80 to print stored text 
while the computer is free to 
continue processing programs. 

If you own a good electric 
typewriter, the KGS-80 is an ex- 
cellent way to add a high-quality 
printer to your system at a very 
affordable price. 



o2o 



PRINTERS/PLOHERS 



(The KGS-80 Keyboard Actuator 
is now being sold by Personal 
Micro Computers, 475 Ellis St, 
Mountain View, CA 94043, by 
the name of Electronic Typing 
Fingers; $595 with power sup- 
ply, mounting hardware, and 
manual) 

Ted I. Blumstein 
September 1981 



"^ "^ "^ ■'■/2 
Line Printer III 
Tandy/Radio Shack 



I wanted a printer that could 
handle numerous forms without 
locking me into any one type of 
paper such as thermal or roll 
stock. While I have nothing 
against these printers, I wanted 
to be able to print labels, 
envelopes, and different kinds of 
multi-part forms. All the re- 
quirements I desired were found 
in Radio Shack's Line Printer III. 

The printer has numerous 
features, including on-line/off- 
line modes; upper/lowercase; 
bidirectional carriage; expanded 
character capability, usable with 
or without expansion interface; 
the ribbon in cassette form to 
allow easy replacement; and a 
9-by-7 dot-matrix print head. 
The one feature lacking is 
graphics. 

Several negative characteris- 
tics came to light during my first 
week's ownership. The printer 
automatically prints 132 char- 
acters per line unless a carriage 
return is received; long lines re- 
quire a 15-inch form. You can- 
not backspace the print head or 
overstrike characters, such as 
when you wish to underline. 
Also, the first form fed in is wast- 



ed because of the print area's 
design. 

Setup can be accomplished in 
15 to 30 minutes; the instruc- 
tions are straightforward. 
Diagrams of the controller logic, 
power-supply logic, driver logic, 
and motherboard logic circuits 
have been included. 

Radio Shack has a great 
printer here; positives far 
outweigh any negatives. I would 
not hesitate to recommend the 
purchase of a Line Printer III to 
anyone. With proper care and 
maintenance, you will experi- 
ence trouble-free operation. Hap- 
py printing! 

(Line Printer III, Sold by Tandy/ 
Radio Shack, Fort Worth, TX 
761 02, has been replaced by 
the DMP-100 $399, DMP-200 
$799, the DMP-400 $1 1 95, and 
the DMP-500 $1 795.) 

Robert James Lloyd 
February 1981 



"^ ■^ ■^ 

Line Printer IV 

Tandy/Radio Shack 

Radio Shack's Line Printer IV 
is basically a Centronics 737 
repackaged in the familiar Radio 
Shack black and silver color 
scheme. It is capable of printing 
on either form-feed, roll, or 
single-sheet paper. It is a 
breakthrough in the low-cost 
quality printer market. 

The primary character set is 
10 characters per inch, 
monospaced (in this case, all 
alphanumerics have the same 
width). 

The secondary character set 
calls for proportionally spaced 
characters. It takes advantage of 
the fact that different characters 
often have different widths. In 



329 



HARDWARE 



this mode, the output is close to 
letter quality. 

There is also a 132-character- 
per-line typeface. It has the same 
spacing characteristics as the 
primary character set, and is 
also suitable for letter-quality 
footnotes. 

All typefaces have upper- and 
lowercase, with descenders, and 
can be printed in elongated 
characters with underlines by 
printing other control codes. 
Line feeds may be either half or 
full, forward or reverse (this last 
feature lets you use sub- and 
superscripts). 

There are no sense switches 
for out-of-paper or cover- 
removed conditions. There is 
also a tendency for the first sheet 
to wrap around and get dragged 
back into the feeder mechanism. 

Contrary to the first ads I saw 
for the printer, this is not well 
suited for use with Scripsit. 
From Scripsit you can't activate 
the underline facility, the 
superscripts, or the subscripts. 
When using proportional print, 
line length assignments become 
almost meaningless. The propor- 
tion of a letter is totally ignored 
by Scripsit, and it is that 
typeface that produces near 
letter-quality print. 
(The Line Printer IV has been 
replaced by the DMP-100 $399, 
DMP-200$799, the DMP-400 
$1 1 95, and the DMP-500 $1 795; 
Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102.) 

William O'Brien 
January 1981 

■^ "^ '^ "^ 
Line Printer VI 
Tandy/Radio Shack 

If you've been looking for a 

330 



line printer, you know what a 
jungle the business can be. 
Prices range from a couple hun- 
dred to a few thousand dollars, 
and features and functions of the 
printers are just as varied. 

What are the alternatives? You 
can do without, or you can risk 
buying a cheap printer and pray 
it works without vaporizing your 
computer. You can go all out 
and buy a $3,000 word-process- 
ing printer. Finally, you could 
get Radio Shack's new Line 
Printer VI. For the money, I 
believe it is the best choice. 

I wanted a lot of features: trac- 
tor and friction feed, graphics, a 
print font that would be accept- 
able for word processing, a 
paper-out warning, bidirec- 
tionality, adjustable width that 
would handle everything from 
labels to 15-inch computer 
paper, and a good print rate. I 
didn't want to pay more than a 
thousand dollars. 

The LP VI turned out to be 
much more than I expected. 
Well-designed and fast, it had all 
the features I wanted and more. 

I wanted a tractor feed that 
was adjustable from 21/2 to 15 
inches. 1 also wanted single- 
sheet friction feed. The Line 
Printer VI has that and the add- 
ed feature of a removable trac- 
tor. The tractor, which is almost 
flush with the top of the printer, 
snaps in and out. 

The Line Printer VI has a 
paper-out alert that stops the 
printer without losing data when 
the paper runs out. This means I 
can leave the printer unattended 
while it prints long data runs 
without worrying about return- 
ing to find my carriage receiving 
a coat of ink. The paper-out 
warning works whether the 
paper is fed from the bottom or 



PRINTERS/PLOHERS 



from the rear of the printer. After 
refilling the paper and resetting 
the printer, it takes up where it 
left off with no data lost. 

The Line Printer VI is not 
small; at 24.2 inches wide by 6.3 
inches high by 13.3 inches deep, 
it does require some room. A 
separate sturdy desk is recom- 
mended. Since the tractor is not 
a large superstructure, the 
weight and height are not pro- 
hibitive. Remember that a 
15-inch-wide carriage requires a 
fairly large printer. 

There are four print fonts 
available. Power-up mode is 132 
characters per line (at 15-inch 
paper size). This will print at 100 
characters per second and 33 
lines per minute. The normal 
characters can be elongated to 
double width, or compressed to 
120 characters per second, 37 
lines per minute. The com- 
pressed mode can also be elon- 
gated into the compressed-elon- 
gated mode. In either elongated 
font, the bidirectionality of the 
printer doesn't work. It does 
function fully in either com- 
pressed or normal modes. 

I was especially impressed that 
once a particular font is selected 
it will remain active, unlike 
many printers on which you 
must call special fonts after each 
carriage return. Also, when a 
print font is cancelled, the 
printer returns to the font that 
was active previously, not 
necessarily the power-up mode. 

Line spacing, called pitch, is 
another important consideration. 
The Line Printer VI powers up at 
six lines per inch. There is also 
an eight-lines-per-inch mode that 
is software selectable. Finally, 
the 12-lines-per-inch pitch is 
available for graphics. The 
pitches remain active until 



cancelled. 

In the elongated modes some 
of the special symbols are not 
clear. The printer has full up- 
per/lowercase. Like most print- 
ers, it prints a bracket for an up 
arrow. The print is satisfactory 
for word-processing use; it is not 
as fancy as an impact printer, 
but the letters are neat and 
clean. 

Most printers available to hob- 
byists are slow. Forty characters 
per second is not uncommon. In 
the normal mode, the Line 
Printer VI will print 100 char- 
acters per second. Since it is bi- 
directional, it prints on the car- 
riage return as well as left to 
right travel. Also, when printing 
tabbed data, the print head 
moves to the tabbed position the 
first time and then returns to the 
tabbed start position only as 
long as more tabbed data is 
available. This means that no 
time is wasted returning full left 
and then to the tabbed position 
with each line. The same is true 
at the other end of travel; the 
printer will print only until the 
line end and then returns. 

Everything considered, the 
Line Printer VI is faster than 
other printers that claim the 
same or higher characters-per- 
second rates. Speed may not be 
a requirement for you, but you 
have to admit that it would be a 
welcome extra. For speed and 
economy, the Line Printer VI 
can't be beat. 

(The Line Printer VI, sold by 
Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort Worth. 
TX 76102, has been replaced by 
the DMP-1 00-500 series of 
Radio Shack printers; 
$399-$1.795.i 

Richard C. McGarvey 
June 1981 



00 1 



HARDWARE 



■^ -^ ^ 1/2 

Line Printer VII 
Tandy/Radio Shack 

The two factors that most in- 
fluenced my choice of the Line 
Printer VII were size and price. 
The VII requires a level surface 
measuring at least 16 by 8.25 
inches to rest upon; it intrudes 
no more on my living room 
decor than the rest of my 
system. 

Setting up the LP VII was no 
problem at all, even for one as 
mechanically disinclined as 
myself. The instruction book is 
short (18 pages) and has 
numerous misspellings and 
grammatical errors, but does 
give clear information on how to 
get your printer working. The 
diagrams are most helpful. 

The printer can be used with 
the parallel interface or with 7- 
or 8-bit serial interfaces. It uses 
any tractor-fed paper 4.5 to 9.5 
inches wide. The unit prints the 
entire 96-character ASCII set; I 
can even print lowercase from 
my uppercase-only keyboard. If 
U$ is an uppercase letter, 
LPRINT CHR$( ASC(U$) + 32) 
sends the corresponding lower- 
case letter to the printer. 

Though I was impressed by 
the good print quality the 5-by-7 
dot matrix produced, I was 
disappointed that lowercase let- 
ters did not have true 
descenders. The lines are printed 
at 80 characters per line, 30 
characters per second. Though 
slow, this is fine for anyone who 
only needs a printout occasional- 
ly. The print fades toward the 
end of long listings, though not 
significantly. 

The LP VII can also print 
double-width characters at 40 
characters per line. You can 

332 



select this feature dynamically 
via the LPRINT CHR$(31) com- 
mand; LPRINT CHR$(30) 
returns you to the 80-character 
mode. LPRINT CHR$(18) selects 
the printer's graphics mode. 

Graphics characters are 
printed by a 6 by 7 matrix, the 
sixth column forming the space 
between characters. In the 
graphics mode, the LP VII can 
darken any seven dots in any of 
the 480 columns on an 
80-character line— with 66 lines 
per sheet of paper, a 480 by 482 
grid compared to 128 by 48 for 
the video monitor. Only graphics 
characters can be printed; all 
ASCII characters except control 
codes will be ignored. 

All things considered, I have 
been very pleased with my LP 
VII. It has not needed service or 
a new ribbon. Two problems 
have occurred on occasion. 
When it first starts printing, 
sometimes the ribbon jams the 
print head and prevents a return 
to the left margin. Also, the cable 
connection at the keyboard 
sometimes comes loose. Wig- 
gling the ribbon or connection a 
bit cures the problem. 

The LP VII makes no idling 
noises at all, prints a readable 
clean copy, has outstanding 
graphics capabilities, and comes 
at a price low enough for the 
hobbyist to consider seriously. 
(The Line Printer VII has been 
replaced by the DMP-IOO-500 
series of printers; $399~$1,795. 
Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102.) 

James E. McKenna 
April 1982 







PRINTERS/PLOWERS 



■^ ^ -^ -^ 

Line Printer VIII 
Tandy/Radio Shack 

Radio Shack's newest printer 
is certain to become one of the 
standard accessories for TRS-80 
computers. It not only has all the 
features of the discontinued Line 
Printer IV (including condensed, 
elongated, and proportional 
characters, subscripts, super- 
scripts, and underlining), but 
also includes bit graphics and 
sells for $100 less than the old 
machine. 

The VIII operates in three 
printing modes: data processing, 
word processing, and bit 
graphics. The only real dif- 
ference between the first two 
modes is how the printer 
responds to a line-feed com- 
mand. In data-processing mode, 
any command affecting line 
feeds, such as reverse line feeds 
and setting different line spac- 
ings, is stored in memory until 
the printer receives its next line- 
feed command. In word-pro- 
cessing mode, line-feed informa- 
tion is acted on immediately, 
allowing superscripts, sub- 
scripts, and other items requir- 
ing half line feeds. These addi- 
tional capabilities slow printing 
speed slightly. 

In the bit-graphics mode, 
many control codes available in 
the other modes are ignored. 
Alphanumeric character sets are 
not accessible from the bit- 
graphics mode, but the printer 
can easily be switched in and 
out of this mode, so graphics 
and text can be mixed within 
the same line. 

The LP VIII prints all 96 ASCII 
characters, 30 block graphics 
characters, and 32 European 
and special characters. A 9-by-8 



dot matrix is used to print the 
10-character-per-inch ordinary 
set at 80 characters per line, the 
5-cpi double-width elongated or- 
dinary set at 40 cpl, the 16.7-cpi 
condensed set at 132 cpl, and 
the 8.3-cpi elongated condensed 
set at 66 cpi. 

The proportionally spaced 
character set prints with a 9-by- 
n dot matrix, where the char- 
acter width (n) varies from 9- to 
23-dot columns. Dot density is 
the same as in the 16.7-cpi con- 
densed set, 1,600 dots in an 
eight-inch line; the length of a 
proportionally spaced line varies 
from 69 to 177 cpl. The propor- 
tional set is not as good as an 
IBM Selectric typewriter, but is 
certainly adequate for most 
reports and correspondence. 
Block graphic characters are 
printed in a 6-by-12-dot format. 

The printer has a parallel in- 
terface that connects to the 
printer port on the Models I 
(directly to the CPU or through 
the expansion interface), II, and 
III. Easily operated switches 
select serial (7- or 8-bit) or 
parallel interface. It can be used 
with any computer with an 
RS-232 port. The serial trans- 
mission rate can be set to either 
600 or 1,200 baud. (The Color 
Computer's 600-baud rate can 
be increased to 1,200 by ex- 
ecuting a POKE 150,41.) 

The printer is 15.4 inches 
wide, 1 1 inches deep, and 4.7 
inches high; it weighs only 16.5 
pounds. It accepts standard 
9.5-by- 11-inch fan-fold tractor- 
feed paper, and has a friction- 
feed platen for using single 
sheets with up to two carbons. It 
is equipped for using roll paper 
as well. 

Normal printing speed at 10 
cpi is 80 characters per second 



OoO 



HARDWARE 



and 23 lines per minute with an 
80-character line. Condensed 
characters print at 100 cps and 
18 1pm with 132-character lines. 
Elongated ordinary characters 
print at 40 cps, and bit graphics 
at 480 dots per second. The 
printer senses when a line con- 
tains fewer than 80 characters, 
stops the print head at the last 
character, and line feeds to the 
next line. It will only move 
toward the left margin as far as 
necessary to print the first 
nonblank character in a line. 
These features permit fast short- 
line printing. 

Decimal ASCII codes 225-254 
generate 30 block graphics 
designs; for more detailed 
graphics work, the bit-graphics 
mode lets you print any com- 
bination of seven dots in a dot 
column. A line feed moves the 
paper up approximately 1/10 
inch, allowing for continuous 
printing without spaces between 
lines. Density is 960 dots per line 
with 480 addressable dot- 
column positions. 

Any character or bit-graphics 
image can be printed up to 256 
times, which is particularly 
useful for plotting points on a 
line. The bit-graphics commands 
are completely compatible with 
the LP VIFs, except for the VIIFs 
lack of a character column ad- 
dressing command. Since that 
function can be performed by 
dot-column addressing in both 
printers, any program for the LP 
VII can be written to work 
without modification on the VIII. 

Both block graphics and word- 
processing applications benefit 
from the variable line spacing 
allowed— normal line spacing is 
six lines per inch, but both eight 
and 12 lines per inch are 
available. Forward and reverse 



line feeds are program-selectable 
when six or 12 lines per 
inch is set. 

The 49-page instruction man- 
ual is comprehensive and de- 
tailed — unfortunately, so much 
so that it reads more like a 
technical manual than a "how 
to" guide. The sections on pro- 
portional spacing, repeated 
printing, absolute positioning, 
and bit graphics are difficult to 
understand without some back- 
ground in bit/byte addressing. 
Another irritating aspect of the 
manual is the preponderance of 
typographical errors, some 
rather serious. There are some 
helpful examples, but the book- 
let is not as useful as it could be. 

One of the most positive 
features of the LP VIII is the 
overwhelming similarity be- 
tween its control codes and 
those of the LP IV (or its Cen- 
tronics equivalent). Most pro- 
grams written for the LP IV, 
such as patches to Scripsit, 
should work without modifica- 
tion. Some will be easier to im- 
plement on the VIII because of 
its graphics capabilites (adding 
Greek letters, math symbols, 
and equation capabilities, for 
example). 

The Epson MX-80 has all of 
the character spacings available 
in the LP VIII except for propor- 
tional characters. The MX-80 
achieves letter quality by either 
double-striking characters or 
striking them with more force; 
both of these modes yield very 
good results and have a sig- 
nificant advantage over propor- 
tional spacing. The MX-80 does 
not, however, have such an ex- 
tensive block graphics set, the 
European characters, or the bit- 
graphics mode. 

With the exception of some 



^04 



PRINTERS/PLOTTERS 



difficulties dealing with existing 
word-processing software— none 
of the fancy word-processing 
features of the LP VIII such as 
super- or subscripts, underlin- 
ing, block graphics, and much of 
the ASCII set are accessible from 
Scripsit — there is no question 
that the LP VIII is an excep- 
tionally useful printer. It should 
have no difficulty capturing the 
large market once filled by the 
Line Printer IV. 

(The Line Printer VIII is now the 
BMP 400. Tandy/Radio Shack, 
Fort Worth, TX 76102; $1,195.) 

Richard K. Wallace 
April 1982 

"^ "^ "^ ■/ 2 

Microline 80 
Okidata Corp. 

The Microline 80 printer is im- 
pressively small, measuring 13.4 
by 9.4 by 4 inches. It produces 
162 lines per minute (80-column 
format) and can print either six 
or eight lines to the inch. 

Extremely clear characters are 
printed in a 9-by-7 dot matrix. 
The character set is the ASCII 
standard 96 characters (upper- 
and lowercase) and features 
block graphics, printed at 40, 
80, or 132 columns. 

The printer comes standard 
with friction and pin feed 
(10-inch pins). A $140 tractor- 
drive mechanism simply snaps 
into place when needed, letting 
you use inexpensive roll paper 
for your other work. Speaking of 
supplies, the Microline 80 uses 
inexpensive Okidata ribbons 
that have two special coatings to 
prolong printhead life. 

Using the Microline 80 is a real 
dream. There were no installa- 
tion problems whatsoever, the 
ribbon connector sent with the 



unit fit perfectly, and the con- 
nection pins required no rewir- 
ing. The quality of the print real- 
ly helps when looking for that 
hard-to-find bug— though the 
lowercase letters do not have be- 
low-the-line descenders, the out- 
put is definitely of letter quality, 
(Okidata Corporation, 111 
Gather Drive, Mt. Laurel, NJ 
08054; $449.) 

Gary L. Osbum 
October 1980 

Microline 80 
(See Page 314) 

■^ "^ "^ "^ 
Microline 82A 
Okidata Corp, 

The Okidata Microline 82A is a 
fantastic little printer that I 
believe is superior to anything in 
and around its price range. 

I bought mine for $499 plus 
postage. I have seen the list price 
as high as $879, so it pays to 
shop around. Interfacing the 
printer can be done in either 
serial or parallel. The place 
where I bought the printer ex- 
tracted several pins to make it 
compatible with the TRS-80. 
You can do this yourself since 
the manual informs you how the 
pins are arranged for both serial 
and parallel interfaces. 

The 82A's print head is rated 
at 200 million characters and 
costs about $143. This compares 
well with Epson's disposable 
print heads costing $30-$40 
that are rated at only 50 million. 

The printer uses a $38.40-per- 
dozen ribbon on a spool rather 
than the often messy $14.95 
mobius ribbon. Although the 
mobius ribbon is rated at 3 
million characters and the 



335 



HARDWARE 



Okidata ribbon is only rated at 
1.5-2 million characters, there is 
still an impressive savings with 
the Microline 82A. Having ex- 
perienced no difficulty with the 
printer, I do not have any infor- 
mation regarding various service 
charges. 

The printer measures 14.2 
inches wide by 12.9 inches deep 
by 5.2 inches high. It weighs 
19.9 pounds and the case is 
made of aluminum. Its nine-pin 
print head prints at 120 
characters per second. The 
printer is both bidirectional and 
short-line seeking. 

Pin feed and friction feed are 
standard but a tractor feed op- 
tion is available for $50. The 
paper (8.5 inches wide, single 
sheet or roll, or 9.5-inch wide 
sprocket) is fed from the rear. If 
you use sprocket paper you can 
feed the paper in from the 
bottom. 

Controls on the front panel 
allow you to select form length 
(also software controllable), set 
the top of form, select/deselect 
(on-line with computer or under 
local control), form feed and line 
feed. Three LEDs indicate 
select/deselect, out of paper, and 
power on. If you keep the line 
feed switch depressed while 
turning on the power and then 
release the line feed, the printer 
generates a self-test. 

Eight DIP switches on the font 
panel can select either parallel or 
serial interface, one of 10 
character sets, an optional 
character set, and other printer 
control codes. In addition to the 
DIP switches there are the short 
plugs, a fuse, and a circuit 
breaker. 

The nine-pin head generates a 
good correspondence print and 
can be software controlled to 



print at 16.5, 10, 8.3, or 5 
characters per inch. Line spac- 
ing is under software control and 
can be set at six or eight lines 
per inch. (Lowercase descenders 
are lost at eight lines per inch.) 

Although TRS-80 graphics are 
supported, dot graphics are not. 
It is not possible to overstrike or 
proportionally print each 
character to fill in the dot 
matrix. Another characteristic of 
this printer is that you can use 
10 and 5 cpi or 16.5 and 8.3 cpi 
on the same line. You cannot, 
however, use any other com- 
binations on the same line. 

This printer does have some 
limitations. The DIP switches 
could have been more accessible 
and I would have preferred a 
dotted j. The ability to use more 
combinations of the various 
print modes on any given line 
would also have been nice. A 
more serious problem is the 
manual knob for advancing the 
paper. I have been using only 
single sheets and have found 
that the knob tends to pull the 
paper unevenly. 

Otherwise, I am delighted with 
my Microline 82A. It is fast, load- 
ed with features, and economical. 
(Okidata Corporation, 1 1 1 
Gaither Drive, ML Laurel, NJ 
08054; $649.) 

Ed Thomas 
May 1982 



^ -^ -^ 1/2 

The Micromatic-SO Printer 

Micromatic Corp. 



The Micromatic-80 is an ex- 
cellent output device for the 
TRS-80. It consists of a used, 
heavy-duty IBM 1980 terminal 



336 



PRINTERS/PLOHERS 



system and an interface device. 
The typewriters are not new, but 
they are reconditioned and 
tested by the Micromatic Cor- 
poration before shipment. 

The major advantage of this 
system is letter-quality output. 
This feature is important for 
generating output equivalent in 
appearance to common business 
correspondence. 

The system has certain disad- 
vantages. Rate of output is 
especially slow— eight to nine 
characters per second. While 
this rate could be increased, the 
manufacturer feels the present 
rate is most appropriate for used 
equipment. Another potential 
disadvantage is possible service 
or repair requirements. An IBM 
Selectric is a complex device 
that will require periodic main- 
tenance and adjustment. 

The Micromatic-80 works 
beautifully with Radio Shack's 
Scripsit. The operating pro- 
cedure is quite simple. The first 
step is to turn on the system, 
load Scripsit, and begin typing. 
No other software is required. 
The lowercase option, keyboard 
debounce, and keyboard reverse 
are all operational. 

The Micromatic-80 system is 
an excellent means to econom- 
ically produce letter-quality out- 
put. Many features do not com- 
pare to the daisy-wheel printers 
on the market, but the appear- 
ance of the output is equivalent. 
The use of the system off-line is 
a valuable feature that is un- 
available with a dot-matrix or a 
daisy-wheel printer. This system 
is an excellent buy, and I recom- 
mend it for anyone seeking a 
moderately priced letter-quality 
printer. 

(The Micromatic-80 Printer was 
sold by Micromatic Corp., In- 




dianapolis, IN, which has gone 
out of business.) 

David E. Clapp 
June 1981 



-^ ^ "^ V2 

Model 800 Printer 

Base2 Inc. 

The Base-2 printer is con- 
siderably smaller and lighter 
than the standard Centronics 
779 printer from Radio Shack. It 
prints 60 lines per minute 
bidirectionally. Its ribbon car- 
tridge is supposedly good for 5 
million characters. The printer 
uses an 8085 chip and two ROM 
chips, along with up to four RAM 
chips to achieve some sophisti- 
cated functions. Characters are 
printed in a 5-by-7 dot matrix. 

Unlike many printers, this one 
is versatile with a capital V. It 
will take three options— a paper 
advance, a tractor feed, and ex- 
tra memory. There is also a 
serial port handling baud rates 
up to 19,200 and accepting 
RS-232 or 20 mA current loop 
signals, along with an IEEE 488 
port that should be compatible 



337 



HARDWARE 



with Pet systems. As an added 
bonus, the printer is completely 
silent when it is not printing. 
The Model 800 printer is an ex- 
cellent product, especially if your 
printing workload is light to 
medium. 

(The Model 800 Printer is sold 
by Bose2, P.O. Box 3458 Fuller- 
ton, CA 92631. It has been re- 
placed by the Model 850, $799.) 

Milan D. Chepko 
September 1980 



•^ ^ -^ i/2 

Novell Image 800 Printer 

Novell Data Systems 

Locating the most cost- 
effective and reliable printer in 
the 150 cps range for your 
TRS-80 can be an arduous task. 

I selected the Novell Image 
800 Dot-Matrix Printer. Both the 
printer and the company are 
unknown to most people since 
they had been marketed pri- 
marily to the Fortune 1 ,000 cor- 
porations and other medium to 
large-scale data processing in- 
stallations. 

This printer comes with a Cen- 
tronics parallel interface. I had 
the opportunity to use it with 
both the serial and parallel 
modes as I had a parallel to 
serial conversion device that 
operates at 300 baud. It worked 
well in the serial mode although 
this was not the configuration in 
which I had intended to operate 
the printer. 

Installation of the parallel in- 
terface board required no elec- 
tronics ability at all. The stan- 
dard Radio Shack printer cables 
were 100 percent compatible. 
The Model I with the Expansion 
Interface and the Model III use 



cable number 26-1401. The 
Model I without the Expansion 
Interface uses cable number 
26-141 1, while the Model II uses 
cable number 26-4401. 

The print quality produced by 
the 9-by-9 dot matrix was ex- 
cellent on forms ranging from 
stock, one-part, continuous-form 
to thick continuous-form mailing 
labels. This quality is main- 
tained by an adjustable print 
head allowing reliable printing of 
one original and up to four 
copies. 

Additional printer features 
simplify the programming and 
day-to-day operation of the 
printer and include automatic 
page advance, the ability to 
change character width and den- 
sity via program control. The 
print types allowed by this 
feature are 10 cpi, 13 cpi, and 
16.5 cpi in both single and dou- 
ble width. In addition is the 
availability of double-density 
printing at 10 cpi. This option 
reduces print speed by half since 
each character is overprinted 
once. The print quality in this 
mode is as good as that of a line 
printer using a print train. 

As important as the ease of 
programming is the ease of 
operation. The step button, the 
form-feed button, and the paper* 
out detector are handy. 

The ability to expand the buf- 
fer to 3,300 characters works in 
conjunction with the off-line in- 
dicator to some degree. The off- 
line indicator and the buffer are 
related since a printer-busy 
signal is not sent to the CPU in 
the off-line mode until the buffer 
is full. 

The standard buffer for the 
Novell 800 is 300 characters. I 
requested the six IC sockets for 
the additional buffer memory be 



338 



PRINTERS/PLOTTERS 



installed (at no extra cost) allow- 
ing me to expand the buffer on 
my own without voiding the 
manufacturer's warranty. 

By installing my own buffer 
memory I saved over $250 on 
the price of the printer. The buf- 
fer memory consists of two 2114 
static RAM chips for eack IK 
buffer increment to be installed. 
Novell charges $100 per IK of 
buffer memory. The two chips 
may be purchased at Radio 
Shack (part number 276-2504) 
for $7.98 each. 

Technical and repair service 
can be obtained in two forms: 
purchasing a service contract, or 
paying for necessary repairs on 
an hourly basis. Although I have 
not yet used the repair service, I 
have used their technical staff. 
The consultation was made via 
their toll-free number. The 
technical staff answered my 
questions in a prompt and pro- 
fessional manner. 
[Novell Data Systems, 1170 
North Industrial Park Drive, 
Orem, UT 84057; $1,395.) 

Ronald Beauchemin 
May 1982 

^ ■^ "^ 

Quick Printer/Pl 

Microprinter 

Tandy/Radio Shack 

Centronics Data Computer 

Corp, 

Centronics Data Computer 
Corporation of Hudson, NH, 
manufactures the PI 
Microprinter, which is known as 
the Quick Printer when sold 
under the Radio Shack label. 
The printer is a 7-bit ASCII TTL 
printer with strobe and 
acknowledge pulse. 

It employs nonimpact 



discharge technology that re- 
quires only four moving p£irts to 
produce variable-pitch 5-by-8 
dot-matrix characters at a rate of 
150 lines per minute, with a ver- 
tical density of five lines per 
inch. The paper carries a con- 
ductive aluminized coating that 
is vaporized by a low- voltage 
discharge from the print head, 
and the printed characters are 
highly legible. 

You can print either 5, 10, or 
20 horizontal characters per 
inch. Underlining can be started 
and stopped by separate com- 
mands. An audio alarm provides 
a loud two-second tone. The full 
96-character ASCII set, in- 
cluding both upper- and lower- 
case letters, can be printed. 

The commands for print size 
can be given prior to listing a 
program or can be included in 
the body of the program. In addi- 
tion, lowercase letters can be 
printed directly on the PI by 
depressing the shift key when a 
program is typed on the 
keyboard. 

Paper is available from Radio 
Shack or directly from Cen- 
tronics in either shiny or matte 
aluminum finish. The printer is 
not supplied with a mating con- 
nector. 

(Centronics Data Computer 
Corp., 1 Wall St., Hudson, NH 
03051; Tandy/Radio Shack, 
Fort Worth, TX 76102. The PI 
and the Quick Printer are no 
longer available.) 

Henry G. Riekers 
March 1980 



Smith-Corona TP-1 
Smith-Corona 

Smith-Corona, best known for 

339 



HARDWARE 



their high-quality, low-price 
typewriters, will soon become 
well-known for their low-cost, 
high-quality computer printers. 
The TP- 1 has a suggested retail 
price of $895, but I've seen it 
advertised in 80 Micro for as low 
as $650, making it the cheapest 
letter-quality printer available. 

You get a well-built, bare- 
bones, daisy-wheel printer. Most 
standard writing paper fits on 
the 13-inch paper carriage, but 
15-inch computer paper won't. 
The actual writing line is 10.5 
inches wide, giving you 105 
printed characters with a 
10-pitch printer, or 126 
characters if you have the 
12-pitch printer. The line spac- 
ing can be set to 3, 4.5, or 6 lines 
per vertical inch, giving you 33, 
49.5, or 66 lines per standard 
1 1 -inch-high paper. You can set 
the impression strength of the 
character-striking hammer to 
any one of five levels. 

The TP- 1 has five special 
features: backspace, automatic 
underlining, programmable 
margins, programmable tab set- 
tings, and automatic forms con- 
trol. It does not support propor- 
tional spacing, reverse line feeds, 
half line feeds, or reverse half 
line feeds. Incremental spacing 
isn't available; you can't ad- 
vance or reverse the daisy wheel 
in increments of more than one 
character, nor can you change 
the pitch you're using. 

Compared with the more ex- 
pensive daisy-wheel printers, the 
TP-1 seems slow, averaging 12 
characters per second. Typing 
characters rarely used in English 
slows the unit down to about 10 
cps, but typing more common 
characters, such as vowels, or 
repeating the same character 
lets the unit hit about 16 cps. 



What are its advantages? It's 
inexpensive. It can be attached 
to almost any computer since 
it's available with either a stan- 
dard Centronics parallel port or 
with an RS-232 port. 

Another advantage is that the 
inexpensive ribbons and print 
wheels are the same as those 
used on the Smith-Corona 
Typetronic typewriter and are 
available through stores selling 
Smith-Corona electronic 
typewriters. The TP-1 can han- 
dle up to four-part forms. If you 
use NCR carbonless paper, you 
can use six-part forms. 

Last but not least, the TP-1 is 
simple to use. When I received 
mine, the print wheel and ribbon 
were already in place. They are 
easily accessible and simple to 
change, and the manual is easy 
to understand. The TP-1 even in- 
cludes a simple diagnostic rou- 
tine that checks the motor every 
time you turn the printer on. 

At this moment there are two 
serious disadvantages to the 
TP- 1 . Because the print wheels 
were originally designed for the 
Typetronic typewriter, they don't 
have the greater-than and less- 
than signs. Since most Basic 
programs use the left and right 
carets in If . . . Then statements, 
this flaw practically eliminates 
the use of the TP-1 as a 
program-listing printer. I've been 
told by Smith-Corona that ASCII 
print wheels will be available 
later this year. 

The second problem is the 
lack of a tractor-feed mechanism 
for the printer. When running 
form-feed paper, what starts out 
as a nicely centered column on 
page 1 ends up printing on the 
left edge of the paper by page 10. 
Trying to print mailing labels 
was a complete disaster. This 



340 



PRINTERS/PLOHERS 



creeping also shows up in the 
vertical direction, but only if 
you're printing a few lines on 
each page with lots of repeating 
line feeds. 

If you don't need proportional 
spacing or special features such 
as forward and reverse half line 
feeds that only more expensive 
printers can give you, consider 
the TP- 1 . It is an inexpensive 
letter-quality printer ideal for 
your personal correspondence or 
short documentation needs. 
(Smith-Corona, 65 Locust Ave., 
New Canaan, CT 06840; $895.) 
Terry Kepner 
November 1982 



■^ -^ -^ -^ 

Strobe 100 Digital Plotter 

Strobe Inc. 

A digital plotter is a device 
that draws pictures. It is specific- 
ally designed to make plots 
rather than print characters. The 
Strobe 100 is a drum plotter 
(paper is attached to a revolving 
drum that moves to position the 
pen vertically, while the pen 
moves horizontally) that is 
driven by computer. 

The 100 is easily the most in- 
expensive drum plotter on the 
market, but that shouldn't fool 
you. It is accurate to .002 inch 
(about 50 microns). That means 
that the error made in drawings 
is considerably less than the 
thickness of the pen line! It uses 
a four-phase stepping motor to 
achieve this high resolution. The 
drum can take paper up to stan- 
dard 8.5 by 11 inches, and the 
plotter can use a variety of pens, 
rather than the specific (usually 
expensive) brands required by 
some printers. Several different 



pens and a high-quality plotting 
paper are supplied. 

Connecting the Strobe 100 is 
easy if you get the Model I inter- 
face ($1 10), which simply plugs 
into your expansion interface. It 
doesn't use the standard Cen- 
tronics printer port or the 
RS-232 port, so you can have 
your printer(s) connected while 
running the Strobe 100. A new 
RS-232 interface ($350) will 
place the routines in a PROM, 
and can be used with the 
Model III. 

The Strobe 100 can digitize 
data. That is, you can place a 
predrawn graph, figure, or pho- 
tograph on the plotter drum, 
enter the digitizing routine pro- 
vided (or write your own), use 
the driver keys to position the 
pen over the appropriate point 
on the graph, and then get the 
coordinates of that point. In this 
manner, maps or pictures can be 
stored in the computer as an ar- 
ray of (x, y) coordinate pairs. 

The manual is well produced 
and fairly well written. In addi- 
tion to general information on 
specifications, connecting, and 
setting up the plotter, it includes 
a useful section on machine-lan- 
guage driver routines, with flow- 
charts and listings for Z80, 
8080, and 6502 CPUs. 

While I am quite enthusiastic 
about the hardware, I am a bit 
more subdued about Strobe's 
software package ($70). It pro- 
vides most of the things you 
want your plotter to perform, 
but does so at a basic level. It 
provides some commands that 
are available through USR rou- 
tines from the machine-language 
driver, which can (with a little 
work) be used in many creative 
ways. Basic programs accom- 
pany the drivers, but they are 



w^f* § 



HARDWARE 



meant more to demonstrate the 
plotter's capabilites than for ac- 
tual use. Nonprogrammers will 
find the Strobe 100 plotting soft- 
ware difficult to use. 

Three plotter drivers are sup- 
plied on disk, one for each of the 
possible memory configurations 
on the Model I. There are also 
three versions of the utility sub- 
routine that can be merged with 
your Basic programs. The other 
four programs are also Basic pro- 
grams, but are called by USR 
routines rather than being saved 
in ASCII format. The USR ap- 
proach is serviceable, but a bit 
more clumsy than necessary. 

The driver supports a number 
of plotter functions: plot vector, 
seek, and alphanumeric charac- 
ter draw. The first USR function 
plots the points. This can be 
done with the pen down (draw 
the line) or pen up (don't). The 
second is used in digitizing the 
data, and the third draws char- 
acters of virtually any size. The 
plot routine requires three pa- 
rameters: the X and y coordi- 
nates and pen state. This lets 
you move the pen to a new loca- 
tion on the paper without draw- 
ing a line between the new point 
and the previous one. 

The seek routine must be 
called before you can digitize 
data. Once it is, you can move 
the pen to any position and enter 
that point with the enter key 
located on the plotter itself. This 
routine is also used in setting up 
the plotter initially for the graph. 

The character plotting routine 
is the most useful. You can draw 
characters so small that you can- 
not read them all the way up to 
a single letter so big that it fills 
the paper. Characters may be 
drawn horizontally or vertically 
for labeling graphs and plots, 



There is no character-generator 
routine for users to create their 
own characters; the character- 
drawing routine can produce 
some special characters, but no 
lowercase. 

The most useful Basic pro- 
gram provided with the software 
package is DRAW8/BAS. This 
subroutine plots a number of 
curves on a common graph for- 
mat, and allows you to draw and 
label axes, draw a grid, use 
various special symbols for 
graphing, and plot by connect- 
ing the symbols. You can choose 
the type of line to be drawn 
(solid with no symbols, symbols 
but no line, solid line and sym- 
bols, or dashed line and sym- 
bols). There is nothing to stop a 
user from generating his own 
programs using these subrou- 
tines; in fact, it is encouraged. 

I am impressed with the 
Strobe 100 and highly recom- 
mend it to anyone who needs 
quality plots but has a limited 
budget. 

(Strobe Inc., 897 Independence 
Ave., Bldg. 5A, Mountain View, 
CA 94043; plotter $785, Model 
I interface $1 10, Model HI 
RS-232 interface $350. PASP 
software $70.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
September 1982 

-^ ^ ^ 1/2 

Tandy Six-Pen Plotter 

Tandy/Radio Shack 



A plotter is a device designed 
to plot functions and data rather 
than print text. The Tandy Six- 
Pen Plotter is a flat-bed unit that 
can plot graphs of up to 7 by 10 
inches. It can also plot 200 
points per inch, which, although 



V~P^ 



PRINTERS/PLOWERS 



not extremely fine resolution, is 
adequate for most purposes. 

It requires special pens that 
can be purchased separately. As 
indicated by its name, the plotter 
lets you use up to six pens, 
allowing for the easy creation of 
multicolored graphs. With 
special felt-tipped pens, you can 
create overhead transparencies 
for those impressive professional 
presentations. 

The Tandy plotter allows 
relative or absolute coordinate 
addressing, several line-type pat* 
terns for drawing circle and are 
patterns, four rotational angles 
for plotting, and some special 
marker symbols for use in 
creating graphs. 

Since it requires an RS-232C 
interface, most computers can 
drive this plotter, including the 
Models I, II, and III as well as the 
Color Computer. I reviewed the 
plotter using a Model I. 

The plotter's buffer can hold 
768 bytes of instructions. The 
plotter has its own Z80 
microprocessor and operating 
system. 

The Tandy Six-Pen Plotter is 
easy to program. It lacks some of 
the flexibility of the HP 7225B 
plotter, but its use is simpler. 
The plotter supports 10 types of 
lines and 93 ASCII characters, as 
well as four special marker sym- 
bols for use in graphs. It is 
limited to four angles (0, 90, 
ISO, and 270). This makes for 
easy labeling of graph axes. That 
is impossible to duplicate with a 
normal printer! 

Included with the plotter is 
Tandy-Graph, a software 
package that lets you draw sim- 
ple line, bar, and pie charts. The 
Tandy-Graph disk contains a 
problem. The sample files pro- 
vided for examples cannot be 



read directly by the main pro- 
gram (called Tandy), as they 
have an extension not supported 
by the program. The Tandy pro- 
gram works simply and easily 
for the creation of good looking 
graphs and plots. 

The software provided works 
well and is menu-driven for ease 
of use. It is not the most power- 
ful software package imaginable, 
but it is serviceable and creates 
some very attractive graphs with 
a minimum of pain. 

The plotter is simple to con- 
trol, eliminating a great deal of 
the creative programming that 
normally accompanies the 
writing of software packages for 
specific purposes. The best com- 
mands available on the Tandy 
plotter are the rotational 
character-drawing command, 10 
line types for plotting, and 
the circle- and arc-plotting 
commands. 

The package is good and very 
useful. It is also competitively 
priced. If you need a multi-pen 
plotter that is simple to program 
and comes with software that 
will handle most of your 
graphics needs, then consider 
the Tandy Six-Pen Plotter. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth. TX 76102; $1,995.) 

Bruce Powel Douglass 
October 1982 



'A ^ ^ 

Trendcom 100 Printer 

Trendcom Inc. 

The Trendcom 100 is a 
microprocessor-controlled, bidi- 
rectional printer. It prints a 
40-character line at 40 charac- 
ters per second, on blue or black 
thermal paper. Trendcom pro- 



Q^Q 



HARDWARE 



jects the head life at 10 million 
characters. 

The accompanying manual is 
short, concise, and clear. The 
warranty is satisfactory and 
repair service is available. 

The Trendcom prints upper- 
and lowercase without a hard- 
ware modification by reversing 
the normal shift procedure. It 
also features a self-check routine 
and a ribbon cable complete 
with an interface card. 

The drawbacks of this printer 
are few and minor. The thermal 
printer paper is expensive and 
narrow, measuring less than 4V2 
inches in width. Also, the paper 
cannot be exposed to sunlight. 

I am completely satisifed with 
the Trendcom 100, especially 
considering that my cash outlay 
was over $100 less than I would 
have spent on a Radio Shack 
Quick Printer. 

(Trendcom Inc., 480 Oakmead 
Parkway, Sunnyvale, CA 
94086. The Trendcom 100 is 
still available and sells for 
$295.) 

John D. Adams 
August 1980 



■^ ^ ^ ^ 

TRS-80 Plotter/Printer 

Tandy/Radio Shack 

Radio Shack's Plotter/Printer 
exhibits features not found on 
commercial plotters costing 
several times its price. Features 
of the plotter include: functions 
controlled by Basic statements; 
uses replaceable Fisher Space 
Pen refills; can function in two 
modes of operation. Plotter and 
Printer; character size in the 
Print mode is software expand- 
able to eight times the original 



size; characters in the Print 
mode can be rotated, under soft- 
ware control, up to 360 degrees; 
arcs, dotted lines, and straight 
line routines are ROM resident 
within the Plotter and can be 
called in Basic; paper feed is bi- 
directional and under software 
control; paper width is 8V2 inch- 
es with a 7V2-inch printing area; 
and printing speed on the 
smallest character font is 10 
characters per second. 

The Plotter/Printer is a small 
computer that is microprocessor 
controlled with smart functions 
resident in ROM. The copy pro- 
duced by the machine consists 
of thousands of .09 millimeter 
straight lines. Programming is 
straightforward and easy. Out- 
put to the Plotter/Printer is 
generated through two types of 
statements, the character string 
(CHR$) and the G-Codes. 

The Plotter/Printer is a well- 
constructed piece of equipment. 
Connection to the TRS-80 is via 
the parallel printer port on the 
expansion interface, which 
presents a problem if you 
already have a printer attached 
to the port. Daisy-chaining the 
two devices does not work 
without buffering the cables. 

Plotter/Printer output quality 
is excellent. The type rivals a 
letter-quality printer, with one 
major disadvantage: it is 
generated in uppercase only. 
The Plotter/Printer has the hard- 
ware necessary to become a 
multiple-font, letter-quality 
printer. Unfortunately, the firm- 
ware (ROM) to do this is lacking. 
Another area in which the Plot- 
ter/Printer is seriously lacking is 
the instruction manual. It is 
poorly produced and difficult to 
understand. 

All in all, this is an excellent 



344 



PRINTER SPOOLERS/BUFFERS/INTERFACES 



plotter, and with a little work, an 
excellent printer as well. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $995.) 

Don Dejarnette 
January 1982 



-PRINTER SPOOLERS"" 
BUFFERS/INTERFACES 



-^ ^ -^ 1/2 

Micro Cue Print Buffer 
MicroCompatible Inc. 

Available in four different 
models, the Micro Cue can help 
you solve your computer/printer 
interface problems. 

The model tested here at 80 
Micro was the PB322P Print 
Buffer with two parallel transmit 
ports and two parallel receive 
ports. The unit contains 32K of 
memory and a Z80 micropro- 
cessor. A IK ROM contains the 
software to control the system. 
All these electronics are driven 
by a 2.0MHz clock. 

The on-board memory is the 
buffer's principal claim to fame. 
It allows a user to transfer files 
from the computer to the buffer 
for printing. This transfer opera- 
tion takes only a few seconds. 
The computer is then free for 
other tasks while the buffer 
drives the printer. The 32K buf- 
fer will hold Scripsit files up to 
18 pages long. It would be hard 
to write a Basic program that 
could fill the entire buffer. 

Micro Cue's other notable 
feature is its multiple-port con- 
figuration. With the right model. 



you can hook up two printers 
and two computers to the buffer 
and select any combination of 
computer and printer with a 
flick of a switch. 

The Micro Cue recognizes all 
your computer's codes as well as 
messages from your printer. It 
lets you know if the printer is 
not ready and also recognizes 
out-of-paper signals. The buffer 
can receive data when the 
printer is not ready, but it will 
not send data until the printer is 
ready. 

The instruction manual con- 
tains a limited amount of infor- 
mation; it is poorly laid out, and 
the diagrams are hard to read. 
MicroCompatible offers a de- 
tailed hardware description, in- 
cluding schematics, plus a pro- 
grammer's guide containing the 
ROM's software listing for an ad- 
ditional $25. 

The Micro Cue is housed in a 
light gray cabinet. It is unob- 
trusive and quite useful. 
Depending on your needs and 
budget, it is a nifty peripheral for 
your favorite computer. 
(The Micro Cue is now called 
the Smart Buffer, and is sold by 
MicroCompatible Inc., P.O. Box 
7624, Atlanta, GA 30357; $335.) 
G. Michael Vose 
March 1982 



PI80C Parallel Printer 

Interface 

The Micro Works 

Color Computer 

The Micro Works must be 
working overtime to develop 
software and hardware for the 
Color Computer. Their PI80C 
Parallel Printer Interface is 
designed so you can use a 



04O 



HARDWARI 



parallel printer, such as the Cen- 
tronics 730, through the serial 
port of your TRS-80C. 

The printer interface is sup- 
plied in a ROM pack, though the 
instructions clearly state that it 
is not a ROM pack and it should 
not be plugged into the ROM slot 
of your Color Computer. A DIN 
plug connects to your 
computer's serial I/O jack. An 
edge connector connects to your 
parallel printer cable. A 
transformer plugs into a 120V ac 
outlet (the interface has its own 
power supply). 

During operation, the interface 
converts your serial data to 
parallel before printing; this 
slows down the printing 
somewhat. You will notice this 
delay when listing a program. 

Since the printer interface re- 
quires no software, there is no 
problem using the printer's func- 
tions which require control 
characters from the computer 
for activation. 

This interface does cause 
slight radio frequency in- 
terference and snow in the TV 
screen. You can minimize this 
by moving the interface away 
from the TV. A longer cable 




would help solve this problem. 

The PI80C is a useful piece of 
hardware for the Color Com- 
puter. It can save you the ex- 
pense of a serial printer if you 
already own a parallel printer. 
(The Micro Works, P.O. Box 
1110, Del Mar, CA 92014; 
$69.95.) 

Howard Berenbon 
June/ July 1982 



Snapp Spooler 
Snappware Inc. 
Model I, II, and III 

Spooler stands for "simulta- 
neous peripheral operations on- 
line," and in the case of this 
printer spooler it means that the 
computer and printer work at 
the same time. 

If you're a hobbyist, a spooler 
is an extra nicety; if your plans 
involve business computing with 
printouts, a spooler is nearly 
essential. My wife and I use a 
production program to generate 
weekly reports. Using a spooler, 
we have gained 15-200 percent 
in execution time without mak- 
ing any program changes. 

The Snapp Spooler is available 
for the Models I, II, and III. The 
Model I version comes with 42 
different spooler versions geared 
to specific memory size/buffer 
sizes; each automatically in- 
itializes itself and sets memory 
size. Some versions allow high 
memory routines to remain 
unaffected. What buffer size you 
choose depends upon how much 
you use the printer and how 
much memory you can give up 
to the print buffer. With our pro- 
duction program running on a 
48K machine, we started with a 
4K buffer. As need for more 



^&^%j 



PRINTER SPOOLERS/BUFFERS/INTERFACES 



variables memory increased, we 
used a 2K buffer with no 
noticeable speed loss. 

If you own a Line Printer III 
with the motor on/off hardware, 
Snapp includes a program that 
patches all 42 versions of the 
spooler to operate this feature. 
Early versions of NEWDOS 
didn't respect the top of memory 
pointers, so Snapp includes a 
program that applies Apparatus 
recommended patches to NEW- 
DOS and corrects the problem. 

The spooler incorporates the 
Radio Shack LPC driver, which 
is needed to run their printers. 
{This feature modifies the 
system to ignore LPRINT com- 
mands without print data follow- 
ing.) We use a Line Printer VI 
and wanted to use the graphics 
characters, but found that the 
LPC feature filtered them out. 
Bob Snapp quickly provided a 
patch to solve the problem and 
will supply it for other users with 
similar needs. 

I've found this customer sup- 
port typical of Snapp Inc., and 
refreshing in the software field. 
(Snappware Inc., 3719Mantell, 
CincinnatU OH 45236; $100, 
hard-disk version $1 50.) 

Alan Moyer 
September 1982 



Sooperspooler 
Compulink 

Other than the cute name, I 
like everything about Compu- 
link's Model SS-1000 Intelligent 
Printer Interface. 

This handy box is a hardware 
spooler. It quickly gobbles up 
data from the computer and 
passes it on to the printer at the 
printer's normal rate. By being 



able to keep computing instead 
of waiting for the printer to 
finish an LLIST or document, 
I've increased my productivity 
by 20 percent or more. 

The spooler's connectors and 
the cable included enabled a 
painless hook-up with my Model 
III and Line Printer VIII. (I sug- 
gest purchasers contact Compu- 
link to make sure they get the 
right connectors.) The unit 
normally comes with 16K and is 
set up for a parallel printer; op- 
tions include increasing the 
memory to 62K and adding 
RS-232 I/O. 

The spooler accepts data from 
the computer at 3,000 charac- 
ters per second. It doesn't take 
long to swallow a long listing 
and quickly return computer 
control to you. In addition, the 
interface lives up to its "intelli- 
gent" description, A display tells 
you how much data is in the 
buffer yet to be printed. A reset 
button allows cancelling a print- 
out. The space compression but- 
ton lights a tally LED and then 
compresses consecutive spaces 
for storage. It expands them 
again when feeding the printer. 

The pagination button lights a 
tally LED and limits the number 
of printed lines on a page to 62, 
and then does four line feeds 
before starting the next page. If 
you press the paging and space 
compression buttons at the same 
time, a self-test is performed, 
checking the ROM and RAM in 
the spooler and printing the test 
results. 

The spooler can number pages 
and will put the heading of your 
choice on each. You can set the 
number of lines per page {default 
66) and the number of printed 
lines per page {default 62). You 
can set the line width (default 



o4/ 



HARDWARE 



80) by setting the left and right 
margin columns; overflow lines 
can be indented (default 5). The 
form-feed character (CHR$(12)) 
can be changed to another 
character from 0-31; in fact, the 
input character (from the com- 
puter) and the output character 
(to the printer) can be different. 

You can also use the spooler to 
print single pages, pausing after 
each one so you can insert 
another sheet of paper. Finally, 
there is a software command to 
ignore any preset hardware or 
software commands and any 
subsequent software commands, 
storing and passing along all 
data precisely as received. This 
is good for printing graphics 
where some of the characters 
can be confused with spooler 
commands. 

I received my spooler six days 
after my telephoned order and it 
was running perfectly 10 
minutes after I unpacked it. The 
documentation is complete with 
plenty of technical data and is 
easy to read. The spooler is a 
handsome and useful addition to 
my system. 

(Compulink, 1215 Ravenwood 
Road, Boulder, CO 80303; 
$349.) 

Ken Knecht 
September 1982 



UPI-3, UPI-4 Serial Printer 

Interface 

Speedway Electronics 

Model I or III 

The Speedway Electronics 
Serial Printer Interface plugs in- 
to the TRS-80 printer port and 
makes the TRS-80 think it has a 
parallel printer attached, so it 



speeds up printing. There are 
two models of the Speedway 
Electronics Serial Printer Inter- 
face: the UPI-3, for the TRS-80 
with an expansion interface; and 
the UPI-4, which runs directly 
from the Model I without the 
interface. 

The unit plugs into my Model 
III, and it puts out either RS-232 
or 20 ma current-loop signals. I 
used the 20 ma current loop, 
which is included in the RS-232 
connector. I also used an opto- 
isolator to electrically separate 
the two units. 

The UPI-3 does exactly what it 
is advertised to do: It converts 
the parallel data to serial and 
puts in a line feed where needed 
at the end of the line. Mine 
worked the first time I plugged it 
in, and it has worked ever since. 
In addition, you can make the 
UPI-3 put in a delay to give the 
Model 33 Teletype time to com- 
plete the carriage return. 

You can also select a number 
of other characteristics of serial 
data transmission. You can 
select, with a neat little DIP 
switch, handshaking, line feed 
after carriage return, nulls after 
carriage return, odd-even parity, 
number of bits per word, 
number of stop bits, and parity 
on or off. 

The unit is nicely built. Con- 
struction seems excellent. The 
unit is built on a good glass- 
epoxy board. The parts and 
workmanship are first-rate. 

The UPI-3 performs as adver- 
tised and can be depended upon 
to keep doing it. There are a few 
minor quibbles: The box is 
rather cheap (but serviceable), 
and the cable to the TRS-80 is 
too short for my taste. But in 
all other respects, it is an excel- 
lent unit. 



348 



SPEED-UP KITS 



(Speedway Electronics, 1 1 560 
Timberlake Lane, Noblesville, 
IN 46060. The UPI3 and -4 are 
now the UPI3VD, $149.95.) 

Jerry W. O'Dell 
February 1982 



"SPEED-UP KITS- 



^ -^ -^ V2 

ArchboM High-Speed 
Modification 
Archbold Electronics 
Model I 

The latest Archbold High- 
Speed Modification permits some 
TRS-80S to operate at 5.36 MHz, 
three times faster than the 
original keyboard. Not only is 
the increase dramatic, but Arch- 
bold's newest circuitry monitors 
certain computer operations. 
Thus, errors during disk access 
do not occur because the board 
switches back to normal speed 
during this critical time. 

Pushing the TRS-80 beyond a 
100 percent speed increase can 
be fatal to programs using high 
memory. Archbold has solved 
this dilemma in several ways: 
the disk accessing is monitored, 
a few minor circuit changes in- 
crease memory stability, early 
units are stabilized with the 
Radio Shack buffered 
cable/twisted pair im- 
provements, and a memory 
delay unit is available for use 
with the very highest speeds. 

Archbold makes every effort to 
document each step of the pro- 
cess and assist the user. Unlike 
any other hardware change to 
the TRS-80, the Archbold board 



provides a full-size photograph of 
the entire TRS-80 circuitry with 
the modification connections 
clearly numbered. Also, every 
revision of the computer is 
covered in the instructions. It is 
among the best hardware 
documentation ever prepared for 
computer add-ons. 

Multiple speed options are 
available on this board, but call 
for some user intervention. In- 
tegrated circuits must be piggy- 
backed and holes drilled for 
switches. Even with the Z80B 
and memory delay line, there's 
no guarantee it will work reliably 
and consistently. But it can 
work, and if you need the addi- 
tional speed, then the Archbold 
modification can provide a key 
to it. 

There is one serious black 
mark against the Archbold 
modification. Archbold has 
joined manufacturers like Per- 
com in taking what, from my 
point of view, is a ludicrous form 
of circuit protection— he has 
sanded the part numbers off the 
top of the integrated circuits. If 
anything goes wrong with the 
Archbold board, or if anything 
does not work upon first install- 
ing it, forget the diagnosis. 

In summary, tlie Archbold 
speed-up kit is a fine product 
that can transform your pokey 
TRS-80 into a fast, more power- 
ful computer. Calculations and 
sorting time are cut phenom- 
enally, and graphics take on a 
remarkable new level of ani- 
mation. 

(Archbold Electronics, 10708 
Segovia Way, Rancho Cordova, 
CA 95670. The Model I speed-up 
kit is no longer available.) 

Dennis Bathory Kitsz 
December 1981 



349 



HARDWARE 



FCI-80 

Personal Micro Computers 



■^ -^ -^ -^ 

TC-8 Cassette System 
JPC Products Inc, 
Model I 

The FCI-80 and the TC-8 are 
hardware devices that speed up 
tape storage and make it more 
reliable. 

The FCI-80 takes a novel ap- 
proach to increasing cassette- 
load speed. Rather than increas- 
ing the density of tape data, the 
tape is moved faster. Programs 
are saved as usual at the normal 
speed, but when you want to 
load a program using the FCI-80, 
press fast-forward and play 
simultaneously on a modified 
CTR-41 recorder. This increases 
load speed to a minimum of 
6,000 baud (about 12 times the 
conventional load speed). 

The FCI-80 connects to the 
keyboard with a 40-conductor 
ribbon cable, connects to a 9V ac 
power adapter, and plugs into 
the earjack on the recorder. The 
operating system is in ROM at 
address 12288 (3000H), a re- 
served area just above Level II 
Basic. 

Loading speed is almost 
unbelievable for an audio 
cassette. The speed is not fixed 
since the fast-forward speed of a 
tape increases as the size of the 
take-up reel increases. At its 
slowest, the FCI-80 loaded a 14K 
program in 16.5 seconds. 

The program took 228 
seconds with TRS-80 COS, a 
speed-up factor of more than 13. 
A 4.3K program loaded in about 
5.7 seconds at the beginning of a 
tape, and it loaded at the 

360 



100-foot point in 3.9 seconds, 
which is nearly 9,000 baud (a 
speed-up factor of nearly 18). 

I couldn't get the unit to work 
near the end of a 300-foot tape, 
but it worked fine from the 
beginning through at least the 
100-foot point. You should be 
able to use tapes with at least 10 
minutes per side. 

The unit is ideal for someone 
who frequently uses large pro- 
grams but rarely saves them. 
The unit does load programs 
rapidly, but I feel two very im- 
portant features are missing. 
Programs must be saved at the 
same slow speed, and writing 
data to tape (one of the weakest 
features of TRS-80 COS) has not 
been changed. 

One nice additional feature of 
FCI-80 is that a keyboard de- 
bounce program is also in ROM. 
This provides automatic key 
repeat when a key is held down 
and will beep when you press a 
key if the cassette output plug is 
connected to an amplifier. 

The TC-8 saves and loads pro- 
grams almost five times as fast 
as a conventional cassette, offers 
a significant improvement in 
raw data storage, and improves 
reliability. 

The TC-8 connects to the 
keyboard with a 40-conductor 
ribbon cable and connects to a 
9V ac power adapter and the 
recorder. You can purchase the 
TC-8 in kit form; the instructions 
are superb. 

The operating system (called 
UTIL) is loaded from TRS-80 
COS tape so the recorder is in- 
itially connected to the 
keyboard. Set memory size to 
314(X) when you turn on the 
computer, and load the 
operating system at the conven- 
tional speed. You can then plug 



SPEED-UP KITS 



the recorder into the TC-8 and 
procede (save and load) at 2,4CK3 
baud. The results are what you 
would expect at this speed: A 
4.3K program loads in 15 
seconds, and a 14K program 
loads in 48 seconds. 

The documentation is ex- 
cellent, and the operating 
system is smooth. The syntax 
for saving raw data on the TC-8 
is PRINT #1,X; the TRS-80 COS 
uses #-1. Using that statement in 
a loop, the TRS-80 took 428 
seconds to store 100 three-digit 
random numbers. The TC-8 per- 
formed the task in 22 seconds, 
almost 20 times faster. 

The TC-8 software includes a 
monitor called Tiny that pro- 
vides a means to find the begin- 
ning, end, and execution ad- 
dresses of most machine- 
language programs. Tiny also 
lets you examine memory loca- 
tions, relocate UTIL, write back- 
up copies of UTIL, and jump to 
any hex address. 

The FCI-80 and TC-8 are cer- 
tainly worth considering if you 
want to improve your cassette 
storage without making a major 
investment. 

(The FCI-80 is available from 
Personal Micro Computers Inc., 
475 Ellis St., Mountain View, 
CA 94043; $269. The TC-8 is 
available from JPC Products 
Inc., 12021 Paisano Court N.E., 
Albuquerque, NM 87112; $120, 
$90 kit) 

Harley Dyk 
May 1981 



sed Upgrad© 



Sinmtek 



Simutek supplies a high-speed 



modification kit that can be in- 
stalled by anyone with elec- 
tronics experience in about an 
hour. The kit comes complete 
with generous lengths of wire, 
an instruction manual, and a 
push-button switch to enable or 
disable the speed-up. Your com- 
puter will run 50 percent faster 
with this modification, and the 
kit is covered by a 90-day 
warranty. 

(The High Speed Upgrade, maU' 
ufactured by Simutek, 4877 
East Speedway Blvd., Tucson, 
AZ 85712, has been discon- 
tinued.) 

Jake Commander 
November 1980 



■^ ^ ^ 1/2 
Model I Speed-Up 
Archbold Electronics 
Model I 

The Archbold Model I Speed- 
up kit consists of a small circuit 
board that is extremely well 
made. A 20-wire ribbon cable ex- 
tends from the speed-up board, 
and these wires are connected to 
various points on the computer 
logic board. In the kit box are a 
few extra parts: a diode, an LED, 
a capacitor, a connector/coupler, 
and lengths of wire and fine 
solder. You may or may not 
need these parts, depending on 
your board type and whether or 
not you have an expansion inter- 
face and disk drives. If you have 
an interface, you need a delay 
line for it. 

The installation is not too dif- 
ficult, if you're extremely careful 
when soldering or when you fold 
the keyboard unit away from the 
logic board. Remember that 
there is very little excess power 



351 



HARDWARE 



available; when you add ac- 
cessories that use computer 
power, you are straining the 
limits of the computer's regula- 
tor. Don't make 300 modifica- 
tions that all use computer 
power or the computer will crawl 
away and die. Use only those 
that are most important to you. 

Once the kit is installed, you 
can power up in either high or 
low speed (a simple modification 
to the kit board) and then switch 
to the opposite speed with a sim- 
ple OUT 254,1 (or OUT 254,0 
depending on which way you 
want to go). The LED that is in- 
cluded changes color to indicate 
mode; red is normal, green is 
high speed, and yellow is 50 per- 
cent slower than normal (switch 
controlled). The board 
automatically reduces speed 
when cassette or disk I/O is per- 
formed, and returns to high 
speed (if that was selected) when 
the I/O is complete. 

The exception is if manual 
switching to high speed is used; 
in that case, disk access will 
cause automatic slowdown, but 
cassette access requires an Out 
instruction or manual switching. 
This switching makes it possible 
to run 50 percent slower than 
normal or high speed. Switching 
can be done during program 
operation with no interference in 
the program's performance; 
however, the extra work for the 
minimum benefit seems to me to 
be a waste of time. The switch is 
not included in the kit but is 
readily available at your local 
supply store. 

So far I have found only one 
operation problem in the speed- 
up modification: keyboard 
bounce. The problem is that de- 
bounce is accomplished by in- 
troducing a time delay in the 



keyboard scan, so that if a key 
double strikes, the second strike 
will occur before the delay is 
complete and will be ignored. 
When you speed up the opera- 
tion, you shorten the debounce 
delay. At my speed-up rate it is 
not bad, and cleaning the keys 
seems to have eliminated it 
altogether. I do see a problem for 
those who buy a Z80B and jump 
up to 6 MHz, because the delay 
will be so short as to be totally 
ineffectual. 

I had one unexpected bit of 
good fortune: Though I have a 
disk system, I occasionally run 
the cassette for a few games and 
applications programs. With the 
speed-up kit, not only did In- 
vaders pose a real challenge, but 
it and my other cassettes loaded 
the first time with no errors. 
Even cassettes that I had given 
up for dead now load fine, and 
Basic and System tapes load at 
the same volume. 

I'm very satisfied with the in- 
creased speed of operation, and 
even though the installation was 
a bit tricky, it was well worth it. 
If you would like that extra 
speed, then buy Archbold— it 
works and it works right! 
(Archbold Electronics, 10708 
Sequoia Way, Rancho Cordova, 
CA 95670. This product is no 
longer available.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
July 1981 



^ ^ -^ 1/2 

SK-2 

Mumf ord Micro Systems 

Model I 

I decided to purchase a clock 
modification for my TRS-80 
because the TRS-80's Z80 pro- 
cessor doesn't run at its best 



362 



SPEED-UP KITS 



clock speed of 2.5 megahertz, 

I chose the SK-2 clock modifi- 
cation produced by Mumford 
Micro Systems. The options list 
of the SK-2 takes almost two 
pages. First, you have the choice 
of optional speeds. In its stan- 
dard configuration, the SK-2 al- 
lows a 50-percent increase or 
decrease in selectable clock 
speed. 

You can have only one speed 
as an option. The 100- percent 
speed increase option requires 
some rework of the SK-2 board 
and probable replacement of cer- 
tain circuits on the CPU that can 
be substituted in place of the 
50-percent speed reduction. 

Actual installation is relatively 
simple, although I recommend 
you have a copy of the 
Technical Reference Handbook 
for the TRS-80 (Radio Shack 
Catalog No. 26-2103) when you 
do the installation. 

After installing the SK-2, 1 
entered a small test program 
from the instructions. I could get 
the printout to speed up and 
slow down by flipping the 
switches correctly. Once in a 
great while the CPU hung up 
when I switched from normal to 
high speed. The problem never 
occurred when switching from 
normal to low speed or when the 
speed change was software 
selected, so it might be a contact 
bounce problem. 

My first real problem came 
when I attached the expansion 
interface to the keyboard; I could 
not run reliably at high speed. I 
found a note on p. 4 of the in- 
structions that said the cable 
from the keyboard to the new 
expansion interface is not 
buffered (there is no black box in 
the middle of the cable). A 
restrictive hardware timing ar- 



rangement in the interface must 
be undone before the memory in 
the interface will run at the 
higher speed. Once I made the 
changes, I no longer had a 
problem. 

I am satisfied with the perfor- 
mance of the SK-2. 1 now use 
software corrections to allow 
disk operation at higher speeds. I 
obtained these corrections from 
Mumford; they also appeared in 
80 Microcomputing, April 1981. 

The Mumford Micro Systems 
SK-2 clock modification lives up 
to all its advertising. The com- 
pany is responsive to questions 
and inquiries, before and after 
the sale, and orders are rapidly 
processed. 

Consider the SK-2 as a cost- 
effective clock modification al- 
ternative that can be im- 
plemented in the software- 
controlled version. 
(Mumford Micro Systems, Box 
435^0, Summerland, CA 93067; 
$24.95.) 

C. H. Ballard 
February 1982 

•^ ^ -^ y2 
The Sprinter II 
Holmes Engineering 
Model I, II, and III 

The Sprinter II is a speed-up 
modification that requires no 
damaging alterations. With a few 
exceptions, you can plug in the 
Sprinter II and run it on your 
TRS-80, instantly giving you two 
of eight operating speeds. One 
speed contains wait states 
(pauses) that allow slower ROMs 
to keep up. The other is without 
wait states. The price on the 
Sprinter II may seem a bit high 
but that is because the kit in- 
cludes the 6 MHz Z80B CPU. 



wOO 



HARDWARE 



During operation an automatic 
slow-down occurs when you ac- 
cess disk or cassette. This is the 
default, but it can be overridden. 
You can also decide whether you 
want the unit to start, in the 
high-speed or normal-speed 
mode. There are eight speeds, 
some slower than normal and 
others faster. Each has the op- 
tion of operating with or without 
wait states to allow the slower 
ROMs to keep up. Top speed is 
5.33 MHz without wait states, 
but a heavily modified computer 
is necessary to achieve this 
speed. 

Sprinter II is well made. There 
are a few minor problems, 
however, that may not be im- 
mediately evident. 

The first problem confronting 
most Sprinter II users is the 
need for high-speed memory. 
The 400-nanosecond Motorola 
memory present in most 
TRS-SOs is not fast enough to 
handle the Sprinter IFs accelera- 
tion. It is easy, however, to get 
200-ns NEC chips that will rise 
to the challenge. If needed, the 
faster memory is available 
through Holmes Engineering for 
$26 per 16K. Memory in the ex- 
pansion interface is not usually a 
problem, but some obstacles 
emerge when you use an expan- 
sion interface. 

In later versions of the expan- 
sion interface Radio Shack 
removed the buffered cable and 
installed a delay line (actually a 
chip). This chip causes problems 
when you try to speed up. You 
will most likely need to replace 
that chip in the expansion inter- 



face with a modifying chip pro- 
vided with the Sprinter II (at the 
additional cost of $10). To find 
out if this modification is 
necessary, call Holmes Engi- 
neering. 

A few other adjustments may 
be necessary. You may have to 
install resistors in the keyboard 
and in the expansion interface to 
help the memory keep up. If 
after all of this modification you 
still can't get high speed, you 
may have to cut a trace. 

If you don't want to do the 
work yourself, you can send 
your system to Holmes and they 
will make the computer run at 
5.33 MHz for a small fee. Their 
work is guaranteed. If you want 
to tackle the Job yourself, you 
can depend on Holmes for 
support. 

Holmes gives you a money- 
back guarantee. For this reason, 
they have an interest in your 
ability to get this little devil run- 
ning to your satisfaction. 
(Holmes Engineering, 3555 
South 3200 West, Salt Lake 
City. UT 841 1 9; $99.50.) 

Richard C. McGarvey 
November 1982 




■SYSTEMS- 



EPS-80 Word Processor 

"A" ^% 

ETF-80 Electric Typing 

Fingers 

Personal Micro Computers 

Inc. 

For people who do a lot of 



Ow^ 



SYSTEMS 



writing. Personal Micro Com- 
puters is making an offer that's 
difficult to ignore: a word pro- 
cessor for under $1,000. 

The EPS-80 is a work-alike 
version of PMC's work-alike 
Model I, the PMC-80. However, 
the EPS system has 20K of 
ROM— 12K containing Microsoft 
Basic and 8K with Michael 
Shrayer's Electric Pencil— and 
48KofRAM. 

The EPS-80 also contains a 
built-in high-speed cassette deck 
for tape saves and loads at 5,000 
baud, more than 10 times faster 
than the TRS-80 Model 1 rate. 
The Zenith monitor with green 
phosphor screen can display 32 
or 64 characters per line. 

For printers, the EPS-80 is 
advertised with either PMC's 
DMP-85 dot -matrix printer (a 
work-alike C. Itoh 8510/NEC 
8023) or the ETF-80 actuator, 
which works with IBM-like 
typewriters. I tested only the ac« 
tuator with a Silver Reed 213C 
typewriter. 

Loading a tape-based word 
processor at 300 baud is painful- 
ly slow. I found the EPS-80's 
built-in fidelity audio recorder as 
fast as advertised and expe- 
rienced no bad loads during the 
three weeks I tested it. Another 
plus is a volume level meter, 
which lets you load tapes 
without hearing the ear-splitting 
whine of loading. 

Having Electric Pencil in ROM 
beats waiting three minutes for a 
16K word-processing program to 
load. When you turn on the 
EPS-80, you get the message: 
(B)ASIC OR (E)LECTRIC PEN- 
CIL? Hit E and you're in Pencil. 

However, there is a disadvan- 
tage to a resident word- 
processing program: If you don't 
like it, you're stuck with it. The 



EPS-80 contains one version of 
Pencil, while a newer version, 
2.0, is already on the market. 
The version in the PMC machine 
uses the down arrow as the con- 
trol key for numerous functions, 
an awkward arrangement; it has 
no centering and footer func- 
tions, loses letters if you type too 
fast on inserts and word wraps, 
and has an aggravating blinking 
cursor. All tabs are set eight 
spaces apart and cannot be 
altered. 

On the hard output end of 
things, PMC's electric typing 
fingers required some patience 
to install. Two metal mounting 
plates with adhesive on their 
bottoms are placed on either side 
of the space bar. Two screws on 
the bottom of the actuator fit in- 
to the mounting pieces; two 
screws on top rest the metal 
ledge above the top row of 
typewriter keys. You must ad- 
Just the screws so the plastic typ- 
ing fingers are .02- .08 inch 
above the keys. 

After some trial and error, I 
got the actuator to work faithful- 
ly, pumping out 12 characters 
per second. This may seem slow 
for people used to fast dot-matrix 
printers, but once you compare 
the quality, you might find the 
wait worthwhile. 

Left and right margins must 
be set manually. If you set the 
right margin too short, you will 
lose all characters from the 
margin to the point where the 
computer finds a carriage return 
or line feed. Also, the Silver 
Reed, like the IBM, will double 
space even when the single- 
space command is chosen. This 
is easily rectified by using the 
SX command, which suppresses 
line feeds following carriage 
returns, instead of SI when for- 






HARDWARE 



matting, or by manipulating 
switches on the ETF. 

One of the biggest drawbacks 
of the EPS-80 is the amount of 
radio frequency interference it 
emits. To my surprise (and my 
neighbor's chagrin), the word 
processor completely blocked 
out TV channels 4, 5, and 7, and 
distorted the picture on channel 
2. Wrapping the CPU in 
aluminum foil, then forming a 
cocoon around it of six 
aluminum roaster pans sewed 
together with number 20 bailing 
wire and grounded to a radiator, 
allowed me to get audio from the 
TV but the picture was still 
unrecognizable. And the 
neighbors still complained. 

Despite the EPS-80's faults, 
PMC deserves kudos for releas- 
ing a "serious" micro aimed at 
the low end of the mar- 
ket—especially in light of recent 
trends, which seem to demand a 
low-end micro be a game 
machine first and computer sec- 
ond. So if you intend to get into 
bargain-basement word process- 
ing, the EPS-80 deserves your 
attention. 

(Personal Micro Computers Inc., 
475 Ellis St., Mountain View, 
CA 94943. The EPS-80 current- 
ly sells for $1,295 and includes 
an enhanced version of Electric 
Pencil, an electronic spread- 
sheet, a parallel printer inter- 
face, and a bus 40 card edge 
connector. The ETF-80 current- 
ly sells for $595.) 

John P. Mello Jr. 
September 1982 



LNW-80 

LNW Research Corp. 

When I needed a hardware 



upgrade, I shopped around and 
decided on the LNW. I ordered 
both circuit boards. 

The circuit boards are silk- 
screened and solder-masked 
with plated-through holes. The 
processor board has a gold- 
plated edge connector. 

The Z80A processor chip runs 
at 4 MHz. Most of the circuit 
design is a leap ahead of the 
TRS-80. The power supply has 
an off-board large filter capacitor. 
The design uses several IC 
regulators with overvoltage 
crowbars and fuses for protec- 
tion. This circuitry is clustered 
in one section of the board to 
keep heat from sensitive circuits. 
Heat-sinks are mandatory on the 
regulators. 

There are 90 ceramic and 18 
tantalum capacitors on the 
board with only 0. IV of noise on 
the +5 line. 

The memory design has 
Schmitt trigger devices on all 
lines; the address lines have 
series terminations resulting in a 
quiet memory. You must use 
200nS memories with the 4 MHz 
clock. 

The character-generator ROM 
can be a custom programmed 
2716 or the TRS-80 character 
generator. The new Radio Shack 
ROM with lowercase descenders 
also works. 

For the language ROMs, the 
two- or three-chip Radio Shack 
set or LNW six-chip set will do. 
For the six-chip set the ROMs 
are 2716s. The configuration is 
selected by a DIP switch of 
jumpers. 

The processor speed is slowed 
to 1 .77 MHz when the ROMs are 
accessed by inserting wait states 
in the Z80. When running the 
Basic interpreter, the speed in- 
crease over the TRS-80 is 



356 



SYSTEMS 



around 40 percent (depending 
on the application). When run- 
ning machine-language ROM- 
independent software, the LNW 
is more than twice the speed of 
the TRS-80. 

The LNW-80 allows use of a 
Radio Shack keyboard or the 
LNW keyboard. There are two 
connectors on the circuit board. 
U30 and U34 must be removed 
to use the Radio Shack 
keyboard. 

The foremost feature of the 
LNW is the on-board inclusion of 
high-density black-and-white 
and color graphics consisting of 
six additional 41 16s with sup- 
port circuitry. It is controlled by 
an Out command to port 254. 

The graphics pixels use the 
same address space as the Basic 
ROMs, activated by an Out to 
port 254 with bit 3 set. The com- 
mand deactivates Basic, making 
a machine4anguage driver 
necessary for graphics. This is 
fairly well documented in the 
manual. High- and low- 
resolution graphics and 
characters can be displayed at 
the same time. 

The screen is divided into an 
inner and extended region. The 
inner region is 384 by 192 pix- 
els. The extended region is 
another 96 pixels horizontally. 
Addressing for the two regions 
differs slightly. 

For color graphics either a col- 
or monitor or a TV with on- 
board rfi modulator is used. 
Outputs for an RGB monitor can 
be wired in. There are two color 
modes: The first gives you 128 
by 192 pixels ia eight colors; the 
high-resolution mode gives 384 
by 192 pixels. The bandwidth 
for this mode requires an RGB 
monitor. The color graphics re- 
quires a custom programmed 



82S23 ROM, available from 
LNW. The ROM contents are 
detailed in the manual. 

LNW lists a 24-by-80 character 
video screen in its advertising. 
This is a little deceptive. The 
LNW-80 has the capability of a 
24-by-80 screen by using the 
high-density graphics, but to get 
it you have to write a driver 
program. 

LNW's six-chip ROM set costs 
$120. Considering that 2716s 
sell for about $6 each, I decided 
to program my own. But which 
address blocks go in which ROM 
socket? I called LNW and was 
told the information was pro- 
prietary! 

The expansion board is of the 
same high quality as the printed 
circuit board, except the gold 
plating costs extra. (The plating 
is worth it.) It has the same good 
memory design and Schmitt 
trigger drivers. There are 43 
ceramic and 12 tantalum 
bypassing capacitors. 

The board also has a few 
drawbacks. The printer port 
works well as long as you are on- 
ly a few feet from the port. You 
never want to hook a long line to 
the output of a D-type flip-flop. 
My printer is 20 feet away and 
74LS175 will not drive it. I had 
to add buffering. 

They cut corners on the 
RS-232 port. Wire jumpers select 
the default RS-232 parameters. 
Why not use a DIP switch? The 
baud rate is also a wire jumper, 
and is not software-selectable. 
You can change soldered 
jumpers about three times 
before the pads fall off or the 
plating pulls out. LNW should 
have added the one extra chip to 
make baud rates selectable. Or 
they could have laid out the DIP 
switch on the circuit board. 






HARDWARE 



The RS-232 connector pads 
are spaced for a printed-circuit 
mount, right-angle 25-pin con- 
nector. Do not solder one on the 
board. When the board is in 
place inside the LNW cabinet, 
there is no room to hook up to 
it with a plug. You cannot use a 
straight connector. Besides, 
the connector pads are 16 
inches from the nearest opening 
in the case. Use a 25-wire exten- 
sion cord. 

The system expansion connec- 
tor for outside devices is at right 
angles to the back of the case. 
You must remove the cover to 
use it. 

Here is where the good 
designers at LNW went out to 
lunch en masse. The manual 
says the keyboard "is designed 
specifically for the LNW-80." 
The one I got was just a plain 
unencoded keyboard. A plastic 
bag with engraved keytops was 
included with instructions to 
replace certain keytops with the 
new ones. One of the new 
keytops was engraved sideways! 

The key switches are the same 
wire-finger switches that gave 
Radio Shack grief for so long. 
With this system, if you don't 
have a keyboard debounce fix, 
you will get keybounce in spades 
at 4 MHz. 

The circuit board is one-sided, 
with many wire jumpers on top 
of the board. The keyboard has 
to sit on them and is difficult to 
seat for soldering. Buy your 
keyboard somewhere else. 

The LNW case is an attractive, 
low-profile cabinet made of 
heavy-gauge steel with room in- 
side for both circuit boards, 
keyboard, power transformer, a 
muffin fan, and rfi filter. Unfor- 
tunately, it is overpriced. 

The LNW is, for the most part, 



a well designed, fast, effective 
computer. I use my LNW-80 
with the Percom Doubler II and 
LDOS operating system. I have a 
time-of-day clock, plotter control- 
ler, music board, and 8-bit 
general-purpose port attached to 
my expansion bus. I designed 
and installed a piggyback board 
for selectable baud rates on the 
RS-232. All is working well. 

Building an LNW-80 is not a 
project for a beginner. The 
manual is informative, but this 
is not a Heathkit. 

(LNW Research Corp., 2620 
Walnut, TiAStin, CA 92680; CPU 
$89.95; System Expansion 
$69.95 ($84.95 with gold-plated 
contacts); Keyboard $99.95; 
Computer Case $84.95; System^ 
Expansion Case $59.95; CPU 
Hard-to-Find Parts Kit $82; 
Video Hard-to-Find Parts Kit 
$31; System-Expansion Hard-to- 
Find Parts Kit $27.50; Level II 
ROM Six-Chip Set $120.) 

Richard L. Brocaw 
May 1982 



'^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 

TRS-80 Color Computer 

Tandy/Radio Shack 

Tandy's Color Computer 
promises to be a powerful and 
expandable unit. The Color 
Computer has the same sleek 
silvery lines as its half-brother, 
the Model I, but unlike the early 
members of the Tandy family, 
the Color Computer abandons 
the Z80 microprocessor for the 
new Motorola MC6809E chip 
and will feature plug-in ROM 
(read-only memory) cartridges. 

The keyboard has calculator- 
like buttons with a long throw 



158 



SYSTEMS 



and tactile feedback. The power 
supply is totally self-contained. 
There are outlets for joysticks, 
cassettes, and a printer. The 
computer requires connection to 
a TV set. 

The Color Computer incor- 
porates several Model I features- 
The first is a Level Mike Basic, 
Color Basic. Whenever power is 
applied, or the reset button 
depressed, the computer 
displays a prompt of OK. Adding 
Extended Color Basic (Level II) 
will make the Color Computer 
much more powerful than its 
Z80 predecessor. 

The second hand-me-down 
feature is a built-in cassette in- 
terface. The manual recom- 
mends the CTR-80, but we 
found our inexpensive, off-brand 
recorder worked just as well. 
However, if you don't buy Radio 
Shack's recorder, you will have 
to make the cables that lead 
from your recorder to the 
computer. 

The Color Computer has a 
600-baud serial printer port that 
is fully RS-232 compatible and 
interfaces to any Radio Shack 
serial printer. The serial inter- 
face responds whenever a LLIST 
or print-to-device command is 
given. 

The permanent Color Basic 
memory of the computer is 
stored in a single 8K x 8 ROM. 
Extended Color Basic adds 
another 8K x 8. The basic Color 
Computer comes with 4K of 
dynamic RAM (random-access 
memory) that can be easily 
upgraded to 16K. 

Many statements are left out of 
the manual. Getting Started 
with Color Basic. They are 
referenced on a "programming 
card," and this could be 
frustrating for the user who tries 



something and continually gets 
an error. 

Despite our unanswered ques- 
tions, Tandy's Basic is capable of 
high-level computations with 
nine-digit precision. Tandy has 
also promised a new Extended 
Color Basic (Level II) with 
features including high-density 
color graphics (256 by 192), 
complex sound generation, 
save/load screen images, a real- 
time clock user-definable keys, 
and string arrays to 255 
characters. 

Several keys on the Color 
Computer have special or 
dedicated functions. The left ar^ 
row functions primarily as a 
back space. A shifted left arrow 
cancels the current line you are 
typing. This is similar to a con- 
trol X command on other com- 
puter systems. 

A break will interrupt the pro- 
gram in progress and return to 
the command level. It will break 
anything except a cassette 
routine, a print with no printer 
connected, or the sound com- 
mand while it is executing. 

The clear key will fill the 
screen with green blocks, effec- 
tively "clearing" the screen. The 
spacebar enters a blank char- 
acter and moves the cursor one 
space forward. 

During a List command or 
other data-display routine, shift/ 
@ temporarily halts the pro- 
gram. Pressing any other key 
causes it to resume. 

As the computer comes on, it 
is in an uppercase lock condi- 
tion. Basic doesn't recognize 
lowercase characters, and the 
Color Computer can't display 
them. For text work (printing in 
upper- and lowercase), a shift/0 
should be depressed once to 
release the uppercase lock. The 



359 



HARDWARE 



same move will reinstate the up- 
percase. 

The Color Computer in Color 
Basic uses letter combinations 
that most closely represent the 
error. There are 25 possible 
documented errors. 

After months of playing, 
dissecting, and deciphering the 
Color Computer's hardware and 
software, we think it is a product 
with great potential and many 
applications from home to 
educational programs. A num- 
ber of accessories are available 
for the Color Computer, in- 
cluding a cassette recorder, 
quick printer, modem, joysticks, 
and program packs. There is 
also a diagnostic ROM to help 
you locate any trouble spots in 
the Color Computer. 
(Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102; $399.95.) 

Tim Ahrens, Jack Browne, and 
Hunter Scales 
January 1981 



■^ "^ "^ -^ "^ 

The TRS-80 
Model I 
Tandy/Radio Shack 

Only one small computer 
system is designed for home 
consumption, assuming little or 
no background in either com- 
puter programming or elec- 
tronics—the TRS-80 Model I. 

Once it is set up, which takes 
only a few minutes, you are 
ready to begin with the Level I 
manual. The manual lives up to 
its reputation for being one of 
the best introductions to com- 
puters and their language. After 
you begin playing with the com- 
puter you enter a mental state 
known as manic-keypressive. 



You won't want to stop until you 
get through the book as quickly 
as you can. 

Flaws Along the Way- 
While there are a few obvious 
errors with the instruction 
manual, I should have known 
there was going to be trouble 
when one of their examples re- 
ferred to "Watts Law." You often 
have to refer to the answer pages 
to solve a problem and find that 
their solution requires informa- 
tion you were not given. 

The graphics section is partic- 
ularly troublesome. You are 
shown examples of graphics pro- 
cedures, but are left to figure out 
exactly what is happening. You 
can imitate the manual, but you 
do not get a really firm grasp of 
what you are doing, and why. 

The Next Plateau 

It will probably take you about 
two weeks to completely cover 
the manual; and that's where 
the next plateau begins. What 
can I do with the computer? 
This is where the Radio Shack 
manual lets you down. There is 
an information gap between 
learning the various mechanical 
computer functions, and devel- 
oping working programs based 
upon your own information and 
needs. 

There are a few sample pro- 
grams in the back of the 
manual, but even if studied, they 
really only give you bits and 
pieces of information. Your 
learning depends on your ability 
to analyze. 

An additional Level I Basic in- 
struction course is available 
from Radio Shack for about $13, 
which consists of eight taped 
lessons to be played on your 
computer. Each lesson contains 



360 



SYSTEMS 



two to four parts. Unfortunately, 
for the material covered, I think 
that they could have done better 
with a small, inexpensive pa- 
perback. 

There is no substitute for ac' 
tual experience with the com- 
puter. Soon you will be thinking 
in computer terms and will find 
that you can build longer pro- 
grams from your information. 

This still leaves unanswered 
the question of what you can ac- 
tually do with your computer. 

There is potential in the Level 
1 4K, but it has its limitations. 
Much depends on how well you 
can take the individual language 
elements and combine them to 
do work. While you can store 
data or do record keeping with 
it, it takes computer memory 
that you don't really have. 

What the machine does best is 
manipulate numbers repetitive- 
ly. Let's take a simple example. 
Ohm's Law: E = IR. This elemen- 
tary formula can solve many 
problems. If we assume lOV and 
10 ohms we can solve for the 
current (I) by the use of I = E/R. 
For one value we can do it easily 
with a pocket calculator or even 
pencil and paper. In what Radio 
Shack calls the calculator mode, 
you can use your computer as a 
pocket calculator. 

Now suppose you wanted to 
know the current as you varied 
both the voltage and the 
resistance, say 10-lOOVin lOV 
steps with the resistance chang- 
ing at each voltage level from 
1-10 ohms in 1-ohm steps. This 
takes 100 separate calculations. 
It would take some time to work 
this out with the pocket 
calculator or using the computer 
in its calculator mode. But you 
could write a short program to 
solve it. The computer takes off 



on Run and you have the 
answers in just a few seconds. 

Suppose that you now wanted 
to know the power for each set of 
values. We have 100 values, 
which means 100 more calcula- 
tions for the power formula. This 
takes only a few extra lines add- 
ed to the program to do this, and 
you end up with twice as much 
information. 

Now, let's get real mean. Sup- 
pose you had a precision require- 
ment and needed to know the 
values from 1-lOOVin IV steps, 
and 1-100 ohms in 1-ohm steps. 
The program would be about the 
same length; just a few numbers 
would change. But to ac- 
complish this you would be talk- 
ing about 10,000 calculations, 
plus another 10,000 for the 
power formula. Try that on your 
pocket calculator or with pencil 
and paper! 

While the computer can han- 
dle figures across the lines. Level 
I cannot add columns or handle 
titles in any convenient manner. 
This does not mean that the 
computer cannot be used for 
some form of data processing, 
but you will have to break the 
job up into smaller sections. 

Even prepared 4K programs 
are limited in scope. An inven- 
tory program I recently saw 
allowed only 100 items with cost 
and inventory. 

A Learning Tool 

By now it should be clear that 
what you really do with the 
Radio Shack TRS-80 is learn 
with it. It is an effective introduc- 
tion to the computer. You will 
have to work at finding your 
own path into the computing 
world beyond, but help is out 
there: clubs, stores, magazines, 
and night schools. Good luck! 



361 



HARDWARE 



(The TRS-80 Model I, Level 1 4K, 
Tandy/Radio Shack, Fort 
Worth, TX 76102. The Model I 
is no longer being marketed by 
Tandy/Radio Shack, but has 
been replaced by its more 
sophisticated siblings.) 

Alexander Maclean 
August 1980 



"UPPER- LOWERCASE- 
MODIFICATIONS 



^ ^ ^ 1/2 

CG-16 Symbol Generator 
G. P. Associates 
Model I 

The CG-16 Symbol Generator 
is an upper/lowercase and graph- 
ics generator board that is easily 
installed in any Model I configur- 
ation. It is compatible with both 
Electric Pencil and Scripsit. 

In addition to lowercase with 
descenders and the standard 
TRS-80 graphics set, the CG-16 



generates the complete ASCII 
character set and about 100 ad- 
ditional graphics symbols. Since 
many TRS-80 programs use the 
traditional coarse graphics, the 
board maintains compatibility 
and improves the appearance of 
existing graphics displays. 

As for the lowercase video dis- 
play with descenders— you have 
to see it to appreciate it. Reading 
the improved text display is 
definitely easier on the eyes. A 
selector switch lets you switch 
off the lowercase hardware if it is 
incompatible with the software 
you are running. This beats 
Radio Shack's permanently 
hard-wired mod. 

To install the CG-16, the origi- 
nal TRS-80 graphics generator 
must be removed and retained 
for use in the new board. The job 
takes about 45 minutes— or less, 
if you are an experienced hard- 
ware hacker. 

(G.P. Associates, P.O. Box 
22820, Sacramento, CA 95822. 
could not be reached.) 

Al Domuret 
March 1981 




LCA-47 Lowercase Adapter 
Micro Technical Products Inc. 
Color Computer 

The LCA-47 Lowercase 
Adapter improves the ap- 
pearance of text on the Color 
Computer's video screen. It is a 
small printed circuit board that 
plugs into the socket normally 
occupied by the Color 
Computer's MC6847 video 
display generator IC; the IC, in 
turn, plugs into the LCA-47. 

Installation of the LCA-47 re- 



\^%i^^f 



UPPER- LOWERCASE MODIFICATIONS 



quires that the Color Computer's 
case and RF shield be opened, so 
all the usual precautions about 
the 90-day warranty apply. If 
you discover that the MC6847 is 
soldered into the mo